Dear Alumni and Friends,
I can’t help but wonder: how many universities are able to claim to have had representation by students and alumni in every Summer Olympics Games since its founding? And how many can report to have been represented by students in two winter Olympics? At Cal State Long Beach, both of these remarkable statements are true.
Sport has been a tradition at this university since the beginning, as has the legacy of competitive success. From the beginning, some of the biggest names in athletic competition have been 49ers in amateur and professional sports. That was never more true than it is today.
The collegiate student-athlete is an individual with a great deal to accomplish. There is the endless working out, the practices, the competition. But that’s only half the story. At Long Beach State, our student-athletes are held to a higher standard, with the expectation that their responsibilities as students are a priority. The commitment to their success extends beyond their own efforts to include coaches, counselors, faculty and staff who are focused on their successes in the classroom as well as in competition. It’s a demanding way to work toward completion of a degree, yet Long Beach State student-athletes continue to establish some of the highest academic scores in California – year after year.
I would also like to salute the dedication, determination and creativity of all of our students who compete in the multiple club sports available at Long Beach. Our 38 club sport teams with thousands of student participants compete in ice hockey, sailing, crew, rugby, Kung Fu, roller hockey, paintball, fishing, surfing, and yes, even belly dancing, to name just a few. Their enthusiasm for their sports has earned them the right to compete across the country, some teams claiming regional or national championships over the years. And for many of these teams, a regular contingent of campus fans is ready to cheer them toward victory as well.
There is much to be learned from student sport and athletics. It’s not about winning so much as it’s about learning how to work as team members, how to take responsibility and to allow others their individual successes, it’s even about losing and learning that tomorrow offers another opportunity to succeed. There is friendship and camaraderie to be enjoyed when people come together to compete, which is why I so enjoy the pick-up basketball games I play with students, faculty and staff whenever possible.
There is much to be said for the individual who chooses to pursue a sport; there’s an even stronger statement to be made for those who pursue excellence in the classroom as well as on the court, in the pool or on the field. Or, as Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom more succinctly stated, “the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.”
F. King Alexander