Reflections, By Bobby Della Polla '13
As I was planning what I was going to say today, I thought to myself what does it mean to be a Division III student-athlete at a Jesuit university. The thing that kept ringing in my head was a quote from the prayer of generosity, attributed to St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius said, “To give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward.” We, as student-athletes, do this day in and day out. We do not do it for a scholarship or to make it to the NBA; we do it because we love our sport and we love our team.
If you look around campus, there are no 100,000-seat stadiums. There are no statues of professional athletes that have graduated from here. To us, a good crowd is having our parents, friends
Our family has grown during our time at Scranton. Not only do we have the entire Scranton community to lean on,
To break this family down even smaller, we each have our team. I know that without my team I would be eating all of my meals by myself. I would lose a huge support system not just on the field but in all facets of life. Our teammates know everything about us. You spend hours upon hours with them at practice and games, on buses, eating meals, in hotel rooms. Eventually along the way you cross the line from freshman strangers who share a common interest to brothers and sisters. Each team is unique in its own way. For example, the swim team has the box, which I am almost positive that they would rather go through horrendous torture before revealing what it means. We all have inside jokes, things that only teammates would understand and memories that will last a lifetime.
Each one of these teams has people at the top who are with us every step of the way: our coaches. Whether full-time or part-time, paid or volunteer, these coaches are there for us, win or lose. From a baseball perspective, we have three assistant coaches that volunteer because they love the game and love our team. The coaches at the University are another support system for our student-athletes whether they are coaches of our own team or not. They put in so much time and effort with their own teams and still keep up with and cheer on the rest of the teams at the University. Their spouses, children
I cannot speak about this athletics department, particularly the class of 2013, without speaking about the accomplishments both on and off the field. Every year, we win Landmark Conference championships, put people on the All-Landmark Conference teams, have athletes that are all-region and All-American, academic all-district and academic All-American. We have sent two teams to the Elite Eight in the past couple of years, and the list goes on and on. If you ask me, Scranton athletics are second to none in terms of students who compete at the highest level of pure athletics.
But not only are Scranton student-athletes second to none on the field and in the classroom,
Looking into this crowd, I am looking at some of the greatest people I know. The only message I can really give to all of you is to continue to be the incredible people that you already are. Although our college athletic careers have come to a close, keep that same spirit and sense of community everywhere you go. It is contagious. In life, we will still be a part of many teams and although they may not be sports teams, you can bring to them the same spirit, love