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Senior athletes reflect on their time at AQ

Senior athletes reflect on their time at AQ

Aquinas House has been blessed to have the support, example, and leadership of several ‘13’s Dartmouth athletics team captains, most of who will be graduating at the end of spring term this year.  Women’s Soccer Team Captain Kim Rose recalls her experience over the last four years, including how she has managed to live out her Catholic faith, both at AQ and on the soccer field.  Kim remembers initially being welcomed into AQ as a freshman by an outgoing and friendly Dartmouth ’10, who invited the 13’s to come to Mass with her.  Kim was touched by Fr. Jon’s homilies, saying that he had a gentle and personal way of speaking: “He really spoke to the students,” she said, recalling that: “he would use examples from the classroom and from pop culture, examples that we could relate to.”

Being raised in a Catholic family, Kim’s faith has always been an important part of her life.  Here at Dartmouth, she always wanted to go to Mass on Sundays, even if she was travelling with the soccer team.  Her faith grew during a difficult time period when she had to sit out for a season after tearing her ACL.  She remembers praying all night after the injury, devastated at the idea of having to sit out for the entirety of the season.  Her sister, who also was injured at the same time, saw how God was bringing the two closer together through their time being injured that year.

After the injury, when she could finally play again, Kim realized that playing soccer was a privilege, a way to give glory to God and a way to experience Him even more through nature.

Kim was able to exercise her leadership role as captain of the Women’s Soccer Team in a profound way when the idea for a dry season came to her over her Sophomore Summer, inspired by her participation in a Dartmouth Program called “LEAD.”  The Dartmouth program provided a forum for students to discuss issues related to alcohol and team policies.  Initially she was met with skepticism from team members when she suggested her team go dry for a season, in order to improve team performance; some thought the players would be resentful because going out together had always been a bonding experience for them as a team, especially for the freshmen.

When Kim was elected captain during her junior year, the two other captains and 13’s class went dry by choice, and the incoming freshman noticed their example. The following year, they sat down as a team and talked about the pros and cons of having a dry season and ultimately voted for a completely dry season for in the spring of 2012.  They had a wonderful season with fewer injuries and less sickness than ever before, and they really bonded as a team.  The climate in the locker room also changed a lot – talking about someone’s Saturday night hook-up was no longer a main conversation topic.

Kim recalls that the sophomores that year played a big role in helping the team find ways to have fun without drinking.  They even went out sober to the fraternities and brought the freshmen (also sober) with them.  ”Athletes have a big influence on campus,” she said, and her class will now be able to leave this legacy with them, a historic occurrence in the history of the Women’s Soccer Team at Dartmouth.

This year, starting in January 2013, Kim was looking for ways to live out her faith even more fully on campus. When Fr. Jon asked her to be an AQ ‘13’s Class Delegate, she felt that this was just the opportunity she had been looking for to find a way to serve God more fully on campus.  Kim recently decided to play soccer for a 5th year, taking the winter term off, which has given her more time to spend at AQ as a role model and mentor for underclassmen, helping them to navigate the campus social dynamics and Greek culture.  Kim feels comfortable being at AQ, likes to study in the library and loves Monday night community dinners.  She’s really appreciated the spiritual support and genuine friendship of the community here in helping her live out her catholic faith and her desire to reach out to others and welcome them.

Sarah Rutter is a class of ’13 delegate here at AQ and is the Captain of the Women’s Crew Team at Dartmouth.  She recalls that living out her Catholic faith on campus has been a fruitful, although sometimes challenging experience.  Sarah recommitted to her Christian faith at Dartmouth, where she received the blessing of a more mature and intentional faith.  She was raised in a Catholic home, and that upbringing set the foundation for all that God has given her in her time at Dartmouth.  Throughout the years she has often been challenged in her faith by friends on the Crew team and on campus.  She’s met these challenges by praying a lot before and during practice.  Sarah describes the endless hours on the Erg machines, hours spent trying to get a better rowing time, as a “mental desert.”

This “desert”, however, provided her the opportunity to pray throughout the endless hours of indoor practice and reflect on the spiritual possibilities involved with her time as Captain of the Crew Team. She began to realize that instead of focusing on winning the race, and the anxiety and nervousness that inevitably was connected to this, she could focus on praying that God would teach her something new about Himself during each race, that she would learn something about Him through the physical exertion and excitement of racing.

Being a Christian at Dartmouth has helped her to grow tremendously in her understanding of what it means to serve and to love her neighbors.

Regardless of the faith of her peers, she’s learned the importance of striving to model Christ-like behavior and being open to discussing her faith with non-Christians.  God has blessed her with several opportunities to share His word on campus, and for that she is extremely thankful. And, she says:  “it’s exciting!”

“AQ has been such a blessing to me as a constant source of fellowship with the Lord and with other Christians.  I’ve been able to use the space here as a sanctuary and the community has been my light in difficult times.”

Lisa Masini, an active member of AQ as the Service Chair during her sophomore year, and the ‘13’s captain of the Women’s Field Hockey Team at Dartmouth, grew up in a Catholic Family in Michigan.

For her, faith and athletics have always been intertwined.  She was in a vibrant youth group during her high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before coming to Dartmouth, and says that as a freshman, coming to Mass at AQ once a week with fellow ’13 Julia Danford really helped her to reflect on the week and to transition to college life at Dartmouth, both on and off the playing field.

Her faith also helped her through tough transitions on the team, such as getting a new coach.  She prays for her teammates’ safety and welfare before each game, and says she feels very privileged to play for Dartmouth and to play with her particular teammates.

Lisa recalls that her faith helped her through times when her role as Captain of the Field Hockey Team sometimes felt lonely or isolating, and she’s thankful for AQ as a place to go to live out her faith on campus.

For her, living out her faith on campus hasn’t proved to be a big challenge, because it’s always been an important part of her life.  She’s been able to live the Christian life despite the many temptations that come her way as part of the Dartmouth social scene.  Lisa especially likes going to the 10:30 Mass at Rollins on Campus and likes to study at AQ sometimes with friends.

 

 

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