Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Debate 08

Belmont is preparing to host the Town Hall Presidential Debate on Tuesday, October 7th. It is a great honor and opportunity for Belmont to host such a significant and historical event. Most Belmont students, faculty, and staff are making sacrifices for Belmont to be able to have an event of this magnitude on our campus. I know I am biased, but I believe there are few who are sacrificing as much as the young ladies on our soccer team.

It has been interesting to watch the changes around campus as the debate nears. Yes, we have watched the construction of temporary buildings. We have witnessed the removal of all the weights from our weight room. The training room was packed up and moved, then carpeted. Most recently, they put up a fence around campus and placed a security guard at each entrance.

All of these things have caused our team some problems. This morning, the soccer balls were accidentally left on the Belmont campus when we arrived to train at Vanderbilt's field. The car that drove back to Belmont did not have the required parking sticker to get past the security guard and get close to the locker room. When our player went to swipe her card to gain access to the locker room, it wouldn't work. I guess we are going to have to keep the balls and cones in our cars.

Other inconveniences our players are putting up with are changing clothes without a locker room, driving to different high schools around Nashville for our tournament during the gas shortage, driving off campus to the training room, and the debate is still a week away. There is much more to come.

We practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at night and 10 ½ hours later, we practice on Wednesday and Friday mornings. The temperature is usually in the 60's and 70's when we practice. The temperature is usually in the 80's and 90's when we play our games. The grass is almost always wet when we practice and usually dry when we play games.

Probably the biggest shock happened last Thursday when we went to our locker room to watch and make a copy of a videotape of a recent game. Our television, 2 DVD players, videotapes of games, a few beanbags, the rolling hamper, refrigerator, and peanut butter were removed from our locker room and are being stored off campus until after the debate. Our team has not been able to watch the Lipscomb or Campbell games to help them prepare for this weekend.

We leave for Spartanburg, SC on Thursday and will return late on Sunday night. We cannot park or leave our cars on campus. The bus cannot come on campus. As I write this, the athletic building is being shut down. The student-athletes cannot get in this building without being escorted through security by a coach with a staff identification card.

Despite all of the inconveniences, we have an overall record of 7-3 and 2-0 in the conference. I know I have told you more than once how young our team is. I am proud that the ladies are not allowing the distractions to affect them. They are not complaining (much). They seem to be taking everything in stride. I will not be allowed in my building or office when we return from our trip. The students had to sign up to be allowed back on campus when we return Sunday night. They must have requested permission and will have to show identification to get back to their dorms on Sunday.

Belmont University is going to be a great host site for the debate. I do enjoy working at a place that strives to host events like the debate, television shows, concerts, etc. I think it shows vision, purpose, and drive in Belmont's leaders. It takes work and sacrifice from Belmont's non-leaders, but I know we will all benefit from this exposure.

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