Hind Workshop Aims to Create Better Athletic Culture
By John Wulf '12
Contact: Holly Foster 315-859-4068
February 15, 2012
Hamilton varsity athletes make up one-third of the student body. On Monday night, they and the rest of the Athletic Department gathered in Wellin Hall at the behest of Athletic Director Jon Hind ’80.
According to Hind’s anecdotal research, never before had so many Hamilton athletes sat in the same room together. There wasn’t an emergency to address, but Hind explained that he called the meeting in order to start creating a collective identity.
After a 10-minute slideshow that garnered applause from the teams in attendance, Hind began his speech in the back of the auditorium because, as he said, “I learned while teaching mathematics at Butler that kids sit down in the back first.” Then, in an engaging presentation that took him to every corner of Wellin, he delivered a clarion message about creating a more cohesive sports community.
There are 28 varsity teams on campus, but Hind wanted to emphasize that each team needs to start thinking collectively. “This is our team,” he emphasized, “let’s start creating a better culture.”
For Hind, that culture will consist of each athlete and team being more accountable for their actions. “As one-third of the student body, we have the power to change the Hamilton community for the better…let’s set the example.”
In order to make his point about accountability, Hind asked how many people had been a team captain at some point in their athletic careers. Virtually everyone in the auditorium raised his or her hand. The exercise made it clear that Hamilton athletes know what it takes to be a leader. Therefore, they shouldn’t stop acting like one just because they’re a first- or second-year student, or because they’re not currently a captain.
Hind also wants to help create a culture in which every athlete supports one another and teams are void of the poisonous “I” attitudes. “There is a ‘ME’ in team,” he admitted, “but you have to use that in a positive manner by being competitive, not destructive.”
At the end of the talk, Hind outlined a few potential initiatives on the horizon. He referenced a leadership retreat for team captains and he talked about more community service projects.
“And don’t think this message is going away,” he added, “I’m patient and persistent as heck.”
Those in attendance were given “Hamilton Athletics—Bleed Blue” t-shirts. They are meant to be a physical representation of the athletic department’s commitment to a collective energy and spirit.