Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What It Means eans to be a Ferrum Student-Athlete

Ferrum College football player TJ Grzesikowski has had a full life over the past four years. In addition to being an outstanding punter, he has been involved in the floowing campus activities:
History and Social Studies Major
Secondary Education Minor
Phi Alpha Theta- Member
Kappa Delta Pi-Member
PAL Tutor
Undergraduate Assistant

Yet, clearly it is the Ferrum Athletics traditions of excellence that stands out in his academic career. Below he shares some thoughts on what it's like to be a Panther -- or as he puts it, to "wear the black hat."

One of the most startling trends of the 21st century student-athlete is the type of pressure being placed on us to not only perform on the field, but to also perform in the classroom. I remember my Seminole High School principal used to tell us “no matter how good you can swing a baseball bat, it’s the wood bat with a #2 on it that you carry in the classroom that’s most important and will get you any where in life.” This same message follows me to Ferrum College and has been echoed over the years.

My 4 years at Ferrum College have been filled with many a memory and filled with quite a few influential characters. One of the best that I have ever talked to would be Mr. Hank Norton. I am by no means a good ol’ Southern Virginia boy, but after listening to some of Coach Norton’s stories of kickers that have come and gone, its makes you feel like you’re just one of the good ol’ boys from another team passed. It’s people like Mr. Norton that make Ferrum College what it is today.

Coach Dave Harper is not only a mentor and a coach to me, but Coach Harper is a product of how Ferrum Football and Ferrum Athletics have transformed boys into men with moral character. I have been blessed and honored to wear the Black Hat and represent Ferrum College Athletics and no doubt have become a product of the Ferrum Football program.

What the new Hank Norton Center will bring to Ferrum College is a brilliant capstone to an institution that has embraced not only the 21st century but kept true with the traditions and history that brought Ferrum College to where it is today. What makes Ferrum Athletics unique are the close-knit friendships and time shared between us student-athletes not only in our own sports -- but across all sports. While at most colleges football keeps to itself and soccer and baseball to themselves, here at Ferrum we all share classes, dorms, and now we can even share state-of-the art athletic, classroom, and locker room space in the same building.

I hope the new facilities will bring more of the great Ferrum College student-athletes like those I have played with and those who have come here in years past. The future looks bright around campus with new dormitories, renovated classroom space, and upgraded facilities everywhere you turn. I am very excited to see Ferrum Athletics following in the same direction. I hope that I can return to Ferrum College and see more positive growth that will benefit everyone in the Ferrum Family. Go Panthers!

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