Quick Slant: Baseball, rain or shine

April 5, 2013

Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.

What weird weather! Weird is the nicest adjective we can use. Our super baseball team has had 23 games with overcast/precipitation at first pitch and nine home games begun with temperatures in the 30’s.  And it’s not just in Middle Tennessee, duck-happy weather is nearly everywhere. A year ago we were sweating in the mid-80’s! Something mentioned at our water cooler is that without the investment in a 100% sports turf playing surface, Mother Nature would likely have rendered some of our games as unplayable; we’re remembering last week’s Tennessee series when all three games were played in rain or drizzle.

Chris Brady was an All-American golfer and member of our 2004 Southeastern Conference championship team. Her mom, Peggy Harmon Brady, was also an All-American here in the early 1970’s before we officially fielded a women’s team and was a charter member of our Athletic Hall of Fame. Peggy lives in North Carolina and followed our team last weekend at a tournament in Greensboro; she reports that Chris lives near Columbia, S.C. and is being trained to run a nuclear power plant while expecting her second baby in September. Other than that she hasn’t been too busy, but what would you expect from someone that was not only a gifted golfer but who earned two Vanderbilt degrees in four years?

David Williams moderated an interesting panel discussion on the Role of Athletics in Higher Education this week. The event, hosted by Vanderbilt’s Community, Neighborhood and Government Office, drew an estimated 200 community members to hear Williams, Associate Athletic Director Dr. Candice Lee, Vanderbilt professor and former Athletics Board chair Dr. Virginia Shepherd and ex-Commodore student-athlete-turned-broadcaster Willie Daunic discuss some current issues regarding high-level NCAA athletics. When the audience got to ask questions, we noted a majority focused on worries about high profile scandals, illegal drug usage and academic fraud – the dark side of college athletics. While these issues merit – and receive – attention at all levels, it made us realize once again how today’s media focuses on the problems, not the successes and that those of us in athletics have much work to do to communicate the many positives a healthy athletics program brings to a campus.



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