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Olympian to headline lecture

Softball pitcher brings unique insight

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 23:02

The seventh-annual Laboratory for Study of Intercollegiate Athletics lecture series will feature former University of Tennessee softball pitcher and U.S. Olympic medalist, Monica Abbott, at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Shane Hudson, the laboratory’s director and clinical associate professor, said Abbott will bring something new to the plate.

“From a player’s standpoint, she has competed at the pinnacle of youth, collegiate, professional and the Olympic level,” Hudson said. “She has literally seen the world from the eyes of a female softball player. Her insight into female sports will give the audience a national as well as an international perspective.”

Abbott’s status as a 2008 Olympian is a major component in attracting an audience for Friday’s lecture. Amber Elaine, sophomore psychology major, said that’s something to look up to.

“I’m really interested in hearing what an Olympian has to say about what it takes to get it done,” Elaine said. “It’s really neat because Olympians are far and few between. She’s one of the top people to make it athletically. It has to take a lot to make it there. It has to take a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice.”

Abbott’s work ethic is a characteristic that stuck out to Christina DeRuyter, freshman sports management major
“In Monica [Abbott], we’ve noticed that she’s so motivated to be able to get to an Olympic level,” DeRuyter said. “It’s such an accomplishment that takes so much hard work. That’s definitely something to look up to — motivation and dedication and someone that always perseveres.”

DeRuyter is in an event management class, which plans sport-related events around campus, including Friday’s lecture. DeRuyter said these lectures can be beneficial to a wide range of audiences.

“I like hearing other people’s perspectives, especially since I’ve never played softball before,” DeRuyter said. “She has a different view point that I think would be really interesting to hear and especially how she’s motivated as a softball player and just in life in general.”

Elaine said she expects Abbott to touch on issues that pertain to college students as a whole rather than only athletes.

“I’m definitely looking for time management and motivation for getting past the struggles of college that aren’t athletic, like school, grades [and] the professors that are hard to handle but knowing that that’s your only option and you have to graduate,” Elaine said.

Elaine said the motivation involved in playing sports is easily transferable to other aspects of life. Students who come to the lecture may be inspired by her motivation for athletics and apply it to school, she said.

“Because within our majors and within our studies, maybe we’re not studying something that we’re passionate about and there’s a block in our head that makes it difficult for us to be passionate temporarily about what we’re studying and we let it get the best of us,” Elaine said.

DeRuyter said Abbott’s leadership skills are strengthened by her involvement in sports.

“I think playing sports helps with becoming a leader just because on the field there are going to be times when you get stuck or your team’s down and some people have to step up and motivate each other and encourage each other that, even if you’re losing or whatever the problem might be, that you can overcome it,” DeRuyter said.

The lecture will be in the Hagner Auditorium in the Bright Football Complex.

 

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