The Veritas staff recently had the opportunity of getting to know some of the ENC team captains for the Fall Sports through various questions about their role as captain on their team. Madisen Machorro-Robinson, Kayla Dean, and Courtney McCarthy represented the leadership team for Women’s Volleyball while Connor Hudson-Bryant and Lindsey Steelman represented Men’s Soccer and Women’s Tennis respectively.
Veritas: To start off , what is one of your favorite moments that you have had with your team?
Courtney: My favorite moment I have had with the team this year was probably the tri-match we had at the beginning of the season. At that point, we had only known some of the new players for two weeks. We ended up playing a team we had lost to in the finals the day before, but the entire team stepped up as a unit and played for each other. They gave their all, and we ended up beating that team.
Connor: My favorite memory of the ENC Men’s Soccer program is actually from my freshman year. We were playing Clark University in a really tough, close game that went into overtime. We won and our whole team cleared off the bench to go celebrate in what shortly became a pig pile next to the goal, with Jacob Mason (the goal scorer) at the bottom. Even our coach at the time came crashing in to join. Winning those scrappy long games is what you live for when you’re on a team that works hard together. Looking back, that was a great night for us.
Lindsey: I could never pinpoint just one favorite memory; there were too many great ones. But so often they don’t happen in the match or while playing out endless points. They are the moments in practice when a teammate “accidentally” drills a ball at another teammate, smacking them square in the stomach, neck, arm, face…you name it. The times you all find a jam in the car on the way to a match, or “family” dinners after practices and matches. I love laughing with and at my teammates and knowing every year I will have seven or eight solid friends.
Veritas: What has been your favorite part about being captain on each of your teams?
Madi: My favorite part about being a captain is being able get my teammates pumped before a game or during practice. It’s an honor and a lot of responsibility having some of the underclassmen look up to you.
Connor: My favorite parts of being a captain are the lessons I learn from trying to be the best leader I can be. You learn pretty quickly that the most important characteristics to have aren’t being the best, fastest, or strongest player, but instead being the most humble, the most stable, and being the best at persevering.
Lindsey: It definitely keeps me in check on my own behavior and motivates me to be my best self as a player at a Christian college. They give me positivity and in turn, I want to be more positive to keep the morale of the team at top levels. They keep me going just as much as I keep them going, and I am thankful for every teammate.
Veritas: Being captain is a big responsibility sometimes. What are the biggest challenges you all have encountered while being captain on your team?
Kayla: I am playing a brand-new position and I need a lot of grace from the rest of the team. I see the most important role as the player who never gives up, continues to have fun, and plays consistently on the court.
Connor: I think the most challenging part of my role is my perspective on improvement. Up until this season, I only had to worry about how to advance my own game, but as a captain, a certain amount of your responsibilities become figuring out how to develop your whole team’s game, so I am always thinking and struggling through what I could be doing more to help my teammates succeed.
Lindsey: The biggest challenge is being a peer, friend, and leader to my teammates all at once. When practices are feeling too long and we all get lazy, it is my job to try and keep everyone going and working as a team, even when I’m struggling as well. It is hard to tell your friend to work a little harder, or to call them out for not being a team player, especially when you are human too and have most definitely made similar mistakes. Also, being loud and cheering a ton has never been a natural thing for me on any sports team, so this position has stretched me to be louder and to lead better.
Veritas: Being a captain on a team at a Christian college can be a little different than at other schools because of the different standards. Given ENC’s mission statement, how do you feel this relates to you as a representative of ENC and a role model to your teammates?
“The mission of Eastern Nazarene College is to serve God, the Church, and the World by providing quality liberal arts education to students of all ages. Consistent with its Wesleyan heritage, ENC seeks to create and maintain an environment which awakens and fosters truth, righteousness, justice and holiness as made possible by God’s transforming grace through Jesus Christ.”
Kayla: I feel like the statement pushes me to pray for my team, to continue to value each girl, and to take our season seriously just as seriously as our sportsmanship.
Madi: To me, it means that we pray before every game and are not afraid to check on one another. We know that God gave us our talents and love for volleyball, and we want to make sure that we are playing to glorify Him, not just growing our own stats. We try really hard to make sure that we are reminded of that.
Connor: Well, when I read the mission statement I see and apply two distinct ideas: a quality liberal arts education, and a dedication to fostering positive social ideals. As a captain and a representative of the ENC student body, my goal is to instill my teammates and peers with these ideas. My wish is for every student to fully appreciate the incredible academic opportunities ENC offers and to develop a maturity built on a strong sense of respect, truth, righteousness, and justice regardless of whether it is Christian-based or otherwise.
Lindsey: I believe that God gives us opportunities to witness and serve in every aspect of our lives, if we acknowledge this and let him use us. As a captain, I not only have a chance to impact my own teammates by loving them and leading them, but also other teams. We could be just another team who plays other schools and throws attitude on the court when we are down, or we could be the team that always keeps our cool and shows good sportsmanship. It sounds small, but these small differences shine light on the bigger love that motivates these little actions. Christ’s love can be experienced anywhere and that means the tennis courts, too.