Oglethorpe Celebrates National Girls & Women in Sports Day

As a woman who has been “blessed” with two left feet, butter fingers, and a penchant for laziness, I can honestly say that sports intimidate me. I have always associated sports with winning and being “the best,” two things that are not easily accomplished without the aid of hand-eye coordination. But last week, thanks to the women athletes of OU, I learned something extraordinary about sports and what they have to offer: the real winners in sports are not rewarded with trophies (… though yes, winning trophies can be really great, too!), but with confidence, good health, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Tennis, lacrosse, basketball and soccer were only a few of the women’s sports teams that came out last week to celebrate the 27th National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This annual event is meant to commend women athletes for their perseverance and excellence in athletics, as well as to encourage other women (and men) to participate in sports.

Tori Van Wyen ’14, a member of the women’s golf team, explained that “it’s a great opportunity for all kinds of kids to be introduced to sports… it’s a great thing for OU and the community.” Coach Cindy Vaios, who organized the event, expressed hope that it would introduce sports to elementary and middle school students, while attracting the interest of OU students.

Area children showed up to the event, all eagerly awaiting their chance to try out the track and field obstacle course, or to throw around a basketball. Oglethorpe athletes were in attendance to help these children learn the ins and outs of playing, and to encourage them to participate on future teams.

“It’s not just about the players,” said Tori.  “It’s about involving the community… These kids might see those female athletes and think, ‘hey, this might be me one day.’”

Athletic Director Becky Hall agrees, admitting that there are some sports that she is just “not good at,” but that it doesn’t stop her from loving sports.  This idea, that there is something for everyone in sports, seemed to be the consensus of all in attendance.

“All of my best friends are on my team,” added Caitlin Hollis ’16, a freshman on the women’s soccer team. ”Sports gives you a way to be with other competitive, driven people… (my team) is like a family to me.”

Sydney Sparks '16, a center mid-field player for OU Lacrosse.

A similar sentiment was expressed many times throughout the day by others. Lacrosse player Sydney Sparks ’16 added that the lacrosse team was “like a sisterhood,” and that ”playing at the collegiate level is really exciting… I’m excited to be part of a brand new tradition at OU.”

Paolette Matute ’16, a member of the tennis team, referred to tennis as “an empowering princess sport,” before enthusing that “the most important thing, even if you’re not an athlete, is (to) go out and exercise… Get those endorphins running!”

The message of the day was clear, and based on the excited looks on children’s faces, that message was well received: sports are something that everyone should consider trying, as they can offer something worthwhile for everyone. Being active is not solely for athletes, nor are sports enthusiasts solely concerned with winning.  Sports are about camaraderie, growing, and thriving, and the women athletes of OU are not simply looking for teammates; they are looking for friends to join their family through the bond that only sports can offer.

Oglethorpe Alumna Organizes Relief for Hurricane Sandy Victims

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which left millions of northeastern residents struggling, it’s hard to know what to do to help. With so much damage—and the resulting delays in travel and transportation, and subsequent delays in relief in the form of volunteers and supplies—the question that comes to mind is, where do we start?

Alumna Sharon (Rudy) Moskowitz ’82, who is the special events manager at Oglethorpe, has jumped right into the effort of organizing relief for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Originally from the southern Jersey shore area (Atlantic City, Cape May, Margate), Sharon is determined to get materials and supplies where they are most needed. She’s started an initiative to get the Oglethorpe community involved in “making a difference” by organizing a drive for victims of Sandy.

“Oglethorpe was really involved with Katrina—and this is a completely different situation—but I want people to know this is happening,” said Sharon. “I want to get students involved in bringing the community together. I have this opportunity to embrace the students and get their response. We can’t sit back and not do anything.”

“It’s closer to home when you’ve grown up there,” she continued. “I want to hit the initial need, and then we’ll see what might be required beyond that. We’re seeking to help childcare centers and the Salvation Army in particular. The goal is to help the many families who have great need while restoring their homes and businesses ravaged by the storm. I have several friends who own businesses that are just not sure if they can re-open. Friends that have older parents that have huge clean-ups. So it is a bit of a nightmare.”

Students and staff members have already jumped on this chance to reach out to these hard hit communities. The Center for Civic Engagement and OU students will help with the packing and shipments of the items going to South Jersey.

You can help, too! The greatest needs are blankets of every size, toiletries, tarps, and rebuilding supplies. Donations may be dropped off at Sharon Moskowitz’s office on the second floor of Lupton Hall. The collection will be shipped Friday, November 9th at noon, with help from Brookhaven UPS shipping store, which is offering discounts and help to get the boxes on their way. You can also help by spreading the word about the drive by visiting and joining the effort’s Facebook page.

Questions? Contact Sharon at smoskowitz@oglethorpe.edu or call 404-364-8467.

Two Birds of a Feather (Blue Jays & Petrels Unite!)

On January 29, Oglethorpe Women’s Lacrosse in conjunction with the Sports Medicine Department, hosted Division I Johns Hopkins’ head women’s lacrosse coach Janine Tucker for a six-hour Coaches’ Clinic in Lupton Auditorium.

129 youth, high school and collegiate coaches from all over the Southeast participated in this event making it the largest coaches’ clinic ever conducted by Hopkins and a FIRST for Oglethorpe University

In addition to providing a detailed book of skills, drills, offenses and defenses, Coach Tucker also shared her team philosophy, favorite game strategies and practice plans for the first two weeks of the Blue Jays’ preseason. Coach Tucker’s dynamic personality and enthusiasm left the coaches asking for more! 

This was a HUGE step forward for Oglethorpe Women’s Lacrosse as we prepare for our inaugural season in the 2012-13 academic year. Thank you to everyone who attended and volunteered!

LeeAnn Tutchton is the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oglethorpe University.

OU Lacrosse Picks Up First SCAC Win, Moves Up League Scoreboard

Oglethorpe's Maseo Brown makes a move at an early season game.

The Oglethorpe Men’s Lacrosse team picked up their first SCAC win Sunday afternoon by topping Millsaps College 12-7 here at Oglethorpe. The Majors jumped out to an early 2-1 lead but the Petrels rattled off three straight goals spanning into the second quarter to take command and go on to notch the historic victory.

According to official conference standings, the newest team in the conference is now fourth in the SCAC with an overall 2-3 record.

The Petrels made their home debut last Wednesday against the Redmen of Carthage College, giving fans the historic opportunity to witness the first varsity contact sport on this campus since the legendary football teams of the 1930s.

Petrels Lacrosse will travel to face Birmingham-Southern tomorrow, Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m. They return to their home field on Friday, April 1 to face Sewanee at 3:30 p.m.