Sophomore Athletes Delve Into What Leadership Means
SAAC Hosts 2014 Sophomore Athlete Leadership Event Jan. 20
In front of nearly 85 of their fellow student-athletes, men’s soccer player Seth Reynolds ’16 and women’s track athlete Christelle Reglas ’16 were tasked with a somewhat unusual assignment at the 2014 Sophomore Athlete Leadership Event, host by Moravian College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Jan. 20. In front of a crowded Prosser Auditorium, the two student-athletes were asked to draw an iceberg. Yes, the floating ice blocks of Titanic infamy.
To kick off her keynote address, Jessica Cherry, assistant director of athletics and assistant men’s basketball coach at York (N.Y.) College, believed the two-dimension Sharpie drawings were the perfect visual to jumpstart her group discussion on leadership, behavior and values. As a result, Reynolds and Reglas were challenged to put their artistic abilities on display. (For photos of the event, click here.)
“We are kind of like icebergs, in that what people see is just the ice of the iceberg,” Cherry explained. “People see our behaviors. You are looking at me know, and you might think I'm kind of funny, kind of loud, but you don't really know anything about me. You just know my behavior. But what we don't know is what is underneath. What's really inside of you, and what's inside of you are your goals. Your character. And your values. That's what we are going to discuss.”
The evening-long program, co-sponsored by the Moravian College Athletics Department and Center for Leadership and Service, is a one-of-a-kind activity that offers student-athletes an opportunity to focus on developing their strengths as a leader in their athletic pursuits and beyond.
The goals for this year’s program were to learn about leadership style and behavioral tendencies, study strategies for working with others that may have different behavioral tendencies, developing individual strengths as a leader, and communicating more effectively with teammates and coaches. This is where Cherry's address came in. As one of the only a handful of women in the NCAA serving in the capacity of a coach of a men’s basketball program, she provided a distinctive perspective on athletics as well as leadership.
With a booming voice and easy-going, yet commanding, demeanor, Cherry’s personality quickly filled the auditorium. Her keynote address took on unique style, mixing in interactive activities and demonstrations to engage the audience. When she asked the student-athletes to express their own values and beliefs, she wasn’t afraid to highlght some of her own.
“One thing that I value is family,” she said. “How can you tell I value you family? My mom is here with me. My mom drove with me a few hours in car. I love my family, You can't shake that from me. Ever. Ever. Ever.”
From there, she challenged Moravian student-athletes to consider what they how dear and the values they could never compromise.
ABOVE: Jessica Cherry served as the keynote speaker during the 2014 Sophomore Athlete Leadership Event Jan. 20.
ABOVE: SAAC student officers address the audience prior to Cherry's keynote address. (Photo by Matt Choquette)
Prior to Cherry’s address, opening remarks were conducted by Scot Dapp, director of athletics, Robert Brill, associate professor of psychology, the 2013-14 SAAC officers and Shelley Bauder, co-director of student-athlete affairs.
“Leadership begins with listening,” Dapp said. “Listen closely tonight. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge present tonight. Take advantage of your position here and work at becoming a leader every day. What you do as a student here will take you very far after you graduate.
Brill, a former LaSalle University men’s soccer player, continued the conversation about leadership, delving into his time as a student-athlete and the experiences – often trying experiences – he encountered on and off the pitch.
Brill, the Greyhounds’ faculty-athletic representative, also reflected on a new iPad Air ad that includes a voice-over of Robin Williams’ monologue from the movie “Dead Poets Society” in which he quotes Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!” poem. The poem’s last line ends with, “you will contribute a verse.” Brill asked those in attendance, in response to how they will act as leaders, “What will your verse be?”
“As student-athletes at Moravian College, we set you to an even higher standard, at least I do, than the rest of the student body,” Brill said. “We need you to. To take the synergy of the learning and growth that takes place in the classroom and out on the gridiron and the court or diamond, and create greatness. Not just on the playing field, but building something in this community. What will your verse be in the context of student athletics here at Moravian College.”
Additionally, the NCAA provided Moravian SAAC with individualized DiSC assessments for each participant. DiSC® is the leading personal assessment tool used by more than 40 million people to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.
Following the opening program and dinner, the sophomore student-athletes transitioned into two different rooms in PPHAC to discuss and learn more about their DiSC styles. Corey Goff, Muhlenburg University athletic director, Katie Dantsin, director of leadership development at Moravian, Cherry and Bauder have all been trained in DiSC facilitation by the NCAA and served as leaders for the two discussion groups.
< Back to main page