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Clevenger Blog: The Family Atmosphere

Monday, April 22, 2013

Redemption feels good.

Earlier in the season, the Bisons Track & Field team competed at our in-town SEC foe, Vanderbilt. Many of us did well.

But I did not.

I had just come back from spending spring break on a mission trip, and I was exhausted. I threw my absolute worst performance ever, but this last weekend we went back to Vanderbilt, and I had the chance to redeem myself. Like I said, it felt good.

This weekend was fun because it was our second in-city meet in a row. We had competed at TSU the week before. It is always nice to be close enough that our friends can actually come out and support us. We had a wonderful turn out from so many of our Lipscomb athletics family: volleyball, soccer, basketball, some tennis, and others.

We had a ton of support from just the Lipscomb student body as well. And we demonstrated just how much better we can perform when everyone is just going bonkers cheering for us.

We had so many wonderful performances by our Track & Field athletes this weekend. Tucker Peabody won both the 100m and the 200m dashes. His 200 was good enough to set him up as the seventh fastest man in the nation in that particular event.

No big deal, or anything, right? Lipscomb’s track program is quickly growing into one of the best in the nation. We had several other podium performances from our athletes, and much of our success was due to the support given to us by our Lipscomb family.

Being an athlete at Lipscomb means that you are a member of several families. The first family is your actual family back home (wherever that is for you). The second family is the entire herd of Bisons that attend classes at Lipscomb University. The third family is our team.

It can be difficult balancing all of the responsibilities that come with being an active member of each of these families, but everyone knows that athletes love a good challenge.

Another good thing about competing at Vanderbilt is that many of our team members have real family close enough to Nashville to make the trip and actually see us compete. It’s an extra pressure placed upon you to perform well when your family name is put on the line with your performance, and your family is there to either watch you succeed or crumble under the weight of competition. I love it!

Unfortunately, for much of our team members this week, we had a misunderstanding with team rules and the appropriate value placed on the scales we use to balance out our different families.

Our team competes much better when we have people cheering for us. That is just a fact. This weekend, due to a misunderstanding, some left parts of the meet early to attend family dinners or hangout with friends. This unfortunately left many of our teammates without a cheering section. They still performed well, and we were very proud of their results, but doing better is always better.

The misunderstanding wasn’t intentional by any of us. We had received an email earlier in the week that said people did not have to show up to the meet until their event, which led us to believe that we were also free to leave since it seemed that the cheering this week was going to be dialed down due to late arrivals.

However, this was not the case. Just because everyone was not required to show up for the morning events, did not grant us amnesty for leaving early. It was something that many athletes just did not take into account as the finished athletes left in mass exodus as some athletes were just arriving. It seemed fair and logical, but that’s not what matters.

The thing that matters is stepping up. We are supposed to transcend fair and logical. And we are supposed to do it, not because our coaches force us to, but because we genuinely want to be better teammates than any team out there. When we reach that point, which I honestly think that we have, we will then need to use ourselves as points of reference. We must step up and out perform ourselves to better our abilities as teammates.

It takes an introverted perspective to continue building a team that is already the best at something. In order to reach higher, we must attempt to outshine each other on our team.

If someone does not show up to cheer for us, then we clearly must cheer for them, because that is how our team will continue to grow. There are clearly times when the track family has a much heftier value than our real family.

Even if we see our teammates and coaches everyday and it’s been a few months since we’ve seen our real family, as athletes, we are called to make these sacrifices for our team. We must put aside the love for our family even though they drove for hours to spend time with us and see us compete.

We are called to support our track family who missed our own performances, because this track family is our lifeblood in college. We are just so dependent on each other for success.

As I say all of the time” `We are Bisons’.  As Bisons, we must remain strong, loving, and loyal to each other. Bisons always run in a herd, and that is how we will operate from now on.

We have just a few weeks left before conference, and if we are going to stand any chance of winning against the more heavily-favored teams, these sacrifices are clearly ones we have to make to get right.

Here we go LU. Go Bisons.