There Is Pride in Perseverance
By Jared Rhone
Friday afternoon. Seymour Chapel rumbles with applause and cheers. For the first time in its history there are enough student athletes to fill every seat as 450 student athletes pack out the sanctuary. Its walls echo with excitement and anticipation as the 2022 Gold Pride Meeting gets underway.
Every year the Vanguard University Athletic Department hosts an all-student athlete Gold Pride meeting. The meeting’s mission? To not only rally student athletes, but to unify the campus with a central theme and scripture that will embody and characterize the culture at Vanguard University. Each yearly theme built on the core covenants of the athletic program: Christ-Like attitude, Faithfulness, Selflessness, Passion, and Leadership.
This year’s theme to propel the VU athletics into action for 2022-23 school year: Grit
The theme will challenge students in a different way, as it urges them to cast aside inconveniences that push them out of their comfort zone and stay locked in when met by these roadblocks.
“We are going to have to be gritty this year,” explains Athletic Director Jeff Bussell in his address to student athletes, “We lost our gym, we lost our weight room, our athletic training room, and that has a huge impact on us. But we can’t make excuses, we need to be gritty, we need to find a way to get it done and be ready to overcome.
Bussell goes further, personifying the theme Grit into a simple acronym:
Guts- Your willingness to take risk and display courage in the face of adversary
Resiliency- Your ability to bounce back and recover quickly when faced with challenges
Intentional- Your understanding of who you are and who you want to be and the commitment of doing whatever it takes to get there
Tenacity- The determination to keep moving forward despite the challenges and setbacks you face
The scripture of the year James 1:12, will also encourage Lions students to find grit within themselves. The scripture says: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” In other words, Vanguard shouldn’t be averse to the upcoming obstacles of the school year, but instead should welcome the test and trust in the Lord to bless and reward them for their perseverance and commitment to academic and athletic excellence.
As he continues his address, Bussell, reminds students that the barriers of the upcoming year won’t be restricted to their efforts in their respective sports. “We all have issues going on in our everyday life, whether that’s our in our jobs or our families but if we can learn to be gritty and push through it together and we can be successful this year.”
Bussell and the Athletic Department hope that the Vanguard community can come together behind this theme of being gritty. As the university sees an increase in student population, undergoes major constructional changes, and adds a new sport: women’s wrestling, it will take the combined cooperation and effort from both staff and students to make the transition smooth and beneficial for all. If the Vanguard community can model grittiness and the virtues of scripture into the pillars of their everyday life, they’ll find the value in grinding out the school year together.