In the Paint

How LC prepared me to play basketball overseas

By Courtney Brewer ’15

They say, “Good things come to those who wait,” but I beg to differ. I think good things come to those who are patient but have a go-getter mentality.

Snapchat-827239743701365092Those who aren’t afraid to keep trying after many failures.

Those who persevere and keep fighting for what they want.

Those who don’t let a challenge, big or small, force them to lose sight of their goal.

Those who have an encouraging support system, and those who invest in a dream and work towards it.

For various reasons, I’ve always dreamed of playing overseas. The game is so different there. Everything from the speed of the game, the gyms, language barriers, to training, traveling, and even the ball, is different than in the USA. When I went to Boston for Spring Break ’15, I had no idea I would be presented with information that would point me towards an opportunity of a lifetime: my chance to FINALLY play overseas.

I was given the knowledge along with a little encouragement, but it was up to me to decide how I wanted to use it. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to go overseas, but now while I am here I am getting my Master’s in Art & Design and playing the sport I love. I always said I would never pursue a master’s degree, but when the opportunity arose for me to play and go to school in another country, I couldn’t turn it down. What better place to learn about art and master my craft than on the continent where many art gods, so to speak, lived and did the same.

I am attending Leeds Beckett University in Leeds, UK and so far I love EVERYTHING about this city, which is good considering I had to become a citizen of the UK because of how long I’ll be here.

Snapchat-459201486904723466Obviously, it’s a bit different than home and I’m still adjusting, especially in terms of food, time change, the currency they use. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve almost been hit by a car driving on what I happened to think was the wrong side of the road, but I’ve only been here since mid-October, so I’m still learning!

I’d like to think human nature is the reason most people have to be forced out of their comfort zones, so it may seem weird that I willingly left mine, hopped on a plane, and moved THOUSANDS of miles away to another continent. I’d also like to think being a member of the Lynchburg College Women’s Basketball team prepared me not just for the next game of basketball, but for the next game after college, which is life. It took me some time to realize this, but if you’re not pushing yourself or your teammates in practice to go 100 percent and beyond, then you’re not helping them or yourself become a better player/person. If this doesn’t happen, no one is being forced out of their comfort zone and being made to adapt to a new situation.

LCWB taught me how to grow up. I matured not only as a player, but as a person. Being a member of LCWB was a great privilege and honor, and I honestly could not imagine life at LC without that. My teammates and coaches became my family, and to this day I would still go to war for them. There is no greater feeling than the one you get once you take the floor and realize you have 13 other girls, who at the end of the day, no matter win or lose, ALWAYS have each other’s back. For me it was also important to wear that jersey with pride, for those that came before me and shared the same blood, sweat, and tears. I never played against a guard I thought was more talented than me. It is always a state of mind, fight or flight. Am I going to do what I can to help my team win or am I going to tuck my tail and let this girl score all over me? I always picked to fight because the pride I had in my team and that jersey was something worth fighting for.

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Life lesson from LC basketball


hairstonBy Charmaine Hairston

Adjustments are something that we all have to make in life. We all have to transition to someone more mature or better in order to be successful. However, making these adjustments and transitions aren’t always easy because sometimes we have to sacrifice things that we like or that we are comfortable with in order to find that good balance. I know this from my own personal experience, which started here at Lynchburg College.

Before coming to LC, I always felt as if I was open to new things and adjusted well to different situations, so I figured that my transition to college would be easy. I was wrong. I came to school thinking: It can’t be too much different than high school, things could only be better. I wouldn’t have nagging parents and teachers who watched my every move, and I could do my own thing, because that what’s college is about right? It was at that moment when I made the mistake of that assumption. The first few weeks were good. I felt like I had a good handle on things, basketball was great, and I really thought I had it all figured out. That was until reality hit me. As season was approaching I became injured, which killed me the most because nothing motivated me more than getting the opportunity to play basketball. Especially since it was something that I had work so hard for most of my life and had been looking forward to for a very long time. While I was injured, I was bummed about the fact that I couldn’t play, other personal issues started to affect me, and I started to let my effort towards my schoolwork slip. That didn’t last long before Coach Pyzik made it very clear that if even when I could play, I wouldn’t if my grades weren’t up to par. That being my motivation, I started becoming more productive in the classroom, but work still began to pile up as basketball had really started to get going and it was hard for me to find that balance. I didn’t realize how tough it would be to find a happy medium of being a college student and athlete.

At that moment I had started to wish that I still had those nagging parents and teachers from high school who always made sure that I was on the right track and helped me make tough decisions when I didn’t know what to do. The whole idea of doing my own thing and having it all figured out wasn’t so fun at this point. After a couple of days of thinking this, I decided that I couldn’t be the college student athlete that I had worked so hard to be and basketball was what I had to give up since it seemed like it just wasn’t my thing anymore. I then decided to share my decision with Coach Pyzik, and she told me that I could adjust and find my balance if I just stuck it out. I wasn’t exactly convinced, but the fact that she had faith and believed in me made me think that maybe I could do it. She encouraged me not to sell myself short and assured me that adjustments were a part of life, and that I couldn’t quit every time things got hard. She was so right, so from that point on I carried that advice with me.

Coach Pyzik’s talk with me made me realize so much about how life will be as I grow and enter the real world as an adult. Running from issues or quitting versus just making adjustments, finding a balance, and conquering the issues, wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. I spent my sophomore year, and currently junior year here at LC living by those words that were shared with me. I apply them to school, basketball, and most other things I face in the real world, as I become an adult. I appreciate Coach Pyzik very much for encouraging me to tough it out because I couldn’t imagine being a student athlete any place other than Lynchburg College and sharing the love for basketball with her and my amazing teammates who also make my journey easier and so worthwhile.

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The importance of preseason training

forbushBy Chaney Forbush, senior

As my last preseason begins I have been reflecting about my time at Lynchburg and what it has meant to be part of the women’s basketball program. The relationships I have made with my teammates will last a lifetime and the things I have learned being a part of this team will help me far beyond my playing days.

Some of the best relationships I have from the program are with my fellow seniors, Sammi, Sarah, and Jaimie. We have been through so much together these last three years and I wouldn’t have wanted to go through all the ups and downs with anyone else. We are not just teammates, but best friends. Basketball may have brought us together, but our bond will continue to last a lifetime.

From freshman year until now I have learned what hard work really is and how far it can truly take you. Freshman year was the first time we got a small taste of success. It was the first time we won a game in Salem and the first time since 1989 that we made an appearance in the ODAC semi-final game. After that season, we realized that if we wanted to make it farther and reach our goal of winning an ODAC title we needed to work even harder and turn up our intensity in everything we do. Sophomore year was another year of making history; it was the first time we had a bye going into the ODAC tournament. Unfortunately we lost again in the semi-final game. This was the turning point in our program when we realized that pushing ourselves to the limit would be the only way to make it past the semi-final game.

Junior year was the year of the most change. It finally felt like we were at a new point in the program. Fitness became one of the top priorities for the team and we wanted to be the fittest team in the ODAC. In the preseason we worked hard to get into the best shape possible and made it a culture in our program. When the season started in October, I knew we were in the best shape we had ever been in. Last season was one of the best seasons I have ever experienced in my career. We got to do so many new things, including playing basketball in Puerto Rico. We also made it to the ODAC championship game, which was one of our goals. Even though it did not go how we had hoped, it was still an amazing experience and is now one of the biggest driving forces for this upcoming season. I want to make it back to that championship game and win it this time.

So in my last preseason I am using the ending of last season as motivation to become even better and push everyone else to get better. When I graduate from this program I want to leave the legacy of working as hard as you can and pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could. The only way to do that is by working hard and getting out of your comfort zone. To the freshman and future Hornets, I want you to know that if you give everything to the game and your teammates you will be greatly rewarded. You might not know what it feels like to play in Salem, but trust your upperclassmen and work as hard as you can for them, because when you do play in that championship game you want to be prepared as possible, and the offseason is when you prepare. I can’t wait for this final season to begin and to see what ensues.

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Working at the Duke University basketball camp


goldsmithBy Sammi Goldsmith, senior

I recently worked the Duke University women’s basketball camp. Working a camp at a big-time, Division I basketball school was new to me, but the 7 a.m. alarms and tired legs are something I know very well. Basketball has been a part of my life since the age of five and I love the sport with my whole heart. My college teammates have joked about how I would even marry the game if I could.

I suffered my first career injury during my freshmen year of basketball at Lynchburg College. My meniscus was torn and I missed our conference tournament. This injury served as a huge reality check. I hated being away from the game even just for a little while. That is when I knew that I wanted to get into coaching once my playing days were over.

My coach at Lynchburg College, Coach Pyzik-Smith, has helped guide and inspire me to pursue my coaching dream.  She called me into her office one day and told me she talked to someone on staff from Duke women’s basketball and that I could have a position working their program’s summer camp. I was both grateful and ecstatic upon hearing this news. Not only would I get coaching experience, but I would also be doing so in one of my all time favorite places. As a North Carolina native, I’ve been rooting for Duke since I was in middle school.

Working the Duke Women’s Basketball Camp was everything I wanted it to be. Each day the coaches and campers woke up early and our schedule involved non-stop basketball all day, taking breaks only to eat and hear different Duke players talk about the game. I coached my own team and got to know as many campers as possible. I love working with young women who have dreams of being great athletes. Sharing my love of the game is something I am passionate about. These girls were great to work with because they were ambitious about more than just basketball. One of my campers told me she wants to be an astro-physicist, while another said her goal is to be a college basketball player and study to become a cardiologist. My job as a coach was to teach them as much as I could about basketball in a short amount of time, but they inspired me as well. My fellow counselors taught me a lot, too, and generously gave me advice about my future profession. I met numerous Duke women’s players and staff members, along with college and high school coaches from the area who share my passion for coaching women’s basketball.

Working the Duke women’s basketball camp is one example of the numerous doors that have opened as a result of being a student athlete at Lynchburg College. My team volunteers at Special Olympics every year and we are consistently inspired by the hard work, persistence, and utter joy displayed by the athletes. This past year we woke up before sunrise to serve breakfast at a local soup kitchen. We also took it upon ourselves to run 1 million “Yards for Yeardley” during postseason in order to raise awareness for the One Love Foundation and its stance against sexual violence. Not only do these volunteer opportunities open our eyes to how humbling it is to lend a helping hand, but these experiences provide our team with time to bond and grow as a unit of strong women who are more than just athletes. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given during my time as a member of the Lynchburg College women’s basketball team.

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B20Q5494010_thumbI honestly don’t know where to begin. What I’ve been saying to parents, professors, classmates, and others since March 2nd is that this program has come so far in the four years that I’ve been here, that this year was a huge step in Lynchburg basketball history, and that we should be proud of what we had accomplished. These statements are all just skimming the surface of what it felt like to experience my last year on this team.

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Player Turned Coach: A Look from the Other Side

Guest post by Assistant Coach Ann Dorris ’14

For around 13 years, being a basketball player defined much of my life. I began playing on teams from the second I was old enough and when that final horn blew in the ODAC semifinals last year, I was nowhere near ready to stop. I had all kinds of weird and crazy emotions running through me once I started to realize it was coming to an end. Read more ›

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Study Abroad – Jaimie Grace ’17 in Australia

Sophomore Jaimie Grace, a business major and a forward/center on the Hornet women’s basketball team, narrates her unique summer study abroad trip to Australia.

By Jaimie Graceimage001

This summer I traveled to Australia with 19 other Lynchburg College students for a month long study abroad trip. The trip, organized by the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), focused on the study of Australian Public Relations and Australian Character and Culture.

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Summer Internship – Lauren Penley ’15 at Maritime Aquarium

Rising Senior Lauren Penley, a key member of the Hornet women’s basketball team, had an interesting internship this summer. Here is a summary of her experiences in her own words.

Photo GalleryPenley2

In order to become a veterinarian, you need to experience working with animals in a variety of fields. Previous summers, I’ve worked at a small animal hospital which included dogs and cats and on two different large animal farms, containing cows and horses.  However, this summer, I wanted to experience something unique, and accepting an internship at an aquarium seemed like the perfect opportunity. I received an internship at the beautiful Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut.
This aquarium is not your average aquarium. While it does contain many aquatic species, some land animals inhabit it as well. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk focuses on the Long Island Sound and beyond, incorporating sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, harbor seals, meerkats, reef fish, sea turtles, frogs, reptiles, and other several species of fish. I worked with a different aquarist each day of the week and got to experience each section of the aquarium multiple times throughout the three months.  Within this aquarium, it was divided into seven sections, including temperate, jellies, seals and otters, shark and rays, frogs and reptiles, reserves, and tropical.

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The “Ticos” and I

Note: Hornet sophomore women’s basketball player Sarah Coon spend six weeks this summer studying abroad in Costa Rica.  She writes about her trip below:

I was at lunch when I received my acceptance to the study abroad program I had applied to.  Shortly after, I set my dates, June 22 to August 3, and chose my destination: Heredia, Costa Rica.  The rest of the school year and summer leading up to my date of departure was an anxious waiting game.  Then, finally, departure day arrived. With passport in hand, I left my family, friends and comfort zone behind to set out on what would become a life -hanging experience.

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Study Abroad with the Beatles

Note: Lynchburg College women’s basketball senior guard Ann Dorris recently spent two weeks in London, England as part of a study abroad program for her English major. Below, she writes about her experience.

At the beginning of this summer, I spent 13 days in the massive and beautiful city of London, England for a study abroad in British Drama and Travel Writing. From the second we stepped off the flight on the morning of May 22, there were tour buses to ride, tube stations to get lost in, and an entire city waiting to be explored. Every single day we had things scheduled starting around 9 a.m. and we weren’t back in our flat until 11 p.m. From classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to workshops with British actors and directors, our days were filled with academic opportunities found outside of the classroom through first-hand experiences.

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Abby Pyzik

LC women's head basketball coach Abby Pyzik Smith '04 begins the sixth season at her alma mater, brimming with enthusiasm.