Oct. 18, 2013
I was in a jam. My column was due to post today. My week has been even more hectic than usual. Any questions we had received from fans had been answered directly as part of our day-to-day correspondence. I hadn't even started a first draft and, candidly, was in a poor frame-of-mind. I am not a writer by trade, but I was suffering from writer's block. Then, it all turned around.
I met with several prospective student-athletes and their families this morning. I saw the light in their eyes. We talked about all of SMU's great qualities and, more importantly, the quality of our people. Their enthusiasm was inspiring and infectious. In their presence, it is impossible to be anything other than filled with hope, optimism and excitement. These families are entrusting us with the health, safety and development of their children. What a huge responsibility!
From there, I headed downstairs to get ready to board the bus for Memphis. On the way, I bumped into several of our current student-athletes and we talked about school, competition and life. Again, there is no better way to refocus and reenergize than to spend a few moments with our students. All of the sudden, I was back on track!
We just arrived in Memphis for tomorrow's football game. This was the first road contest requiring air travel, so it was my first time traveling with the team this season. Because it is unusually late in the year for our first flight, I failed to take note of the young men who have never been on a plane before - but there are always a few. Moments like these serve to remind me of the change college athletics can represent in our student-athletes' lives.
Being around our student-athletes is the most enjoyable aspect of my job. In particular, I like spending time with our teams away from campus - where we can all let our guard down a little bit and get to know one another in a different setting. This is where their personalities shine through. They are kids; and I say that with the greatest respect. Their playfulness and curiosity provide needed perspective in the often over-sensationalized, not-always understood world of college athletics. I just wish more people could spend time getting to know them.
I want to thank everyone - our coaches, faculty, staff, fans, donors, alumni, community members - for contributing to the betterment of these young men and women. Your investment in their future is noticed and appreciated. Most of all, I offer my sincere appreciation to our student-athletes. They probably don't realize it, but they inspire us each and every day to be our best.
Please keep your questions coming. Your input is important to me. Remember, if you have a question or concern, contact me through this form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach me on Twitter at @AD_RickHart.
Go Mustangs and Pony Up!
Rick Hart Director of Athletics