Kalamazoo College senior athletes Thania Stavropoulos, Grace Smith, David Smith, Sidney Wall, and Branden Metzler spoke to students, faculty, and community members last Friday at Stetson Chapel. The student athletes spoke on what motivates them to put so much of their time and energy into their respective sports.
The reflection began with an introduction by the women’s varsity volleyball coach Jeanne Hess, who told the crowd that every fourth student on campus plays an intercollegiate varsity sport. Hess was followed by a special musical performance by Thania Stavropoulos, who played a piano rendition of “Let It Ring.”
The reflection continued with a speech from Grace Smith, the president of the Athletic Leadership Council. Smith spoke about her years on the Kalamazoo College women’s basketball and soccer teams.
David Smith, a psychology major and a member of the K College golf team, followed. Smith spoke about his four years on the team, balancing school and golf, and how the solitude of golf calms him and keeps him motivated.
Sydney Wall, a business and psychology major, spoke about why she was motivated to play “for the love of the game, and for tears of joy.” Wall plays on the K College volleyball team. She also played on the varsity basketball team for two years. Wall said she couldn’t imagine her life at K without sports.
Branden Metzler, an economics and chemistry major, spoke openly about his four years as a Kalamazoo College tennis player. Metzler spoke about the expectations of maintaining ‘The Streak’ and his overall improvement as a tennis player, student, and person.
The reflection concluded with words from alumni J.P. McBride, a former Kalamazoo basketball and baseball player. McBride reflected on his years as a hornet athlete.
“As the director of the manufacturing program management office for Fiat Chrysler, I think some of the best employees are former collegiate student athletes who understand teamwork,” said McBride.
“I believe that the speakers we had were well representative of the school and their stories really made an impact on the crowd. When I went up to speak after Grace Smith, I could see people wiping tears from their eyes,” David Smith said of the reflection.
“It shows what sports mean for student athletes and especially for those who are prospective students. It allows them to think about why they play, and possibly continuing their careers, even if it’s not at K,” said David Smith.