Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of getting to chat with Betty Wiseman, a living Belmont legend at her home in Brentwood. She was most hospitable, and the interview had been lighthearted until I asked her a certain question.
“What does Belmont mean to you?”
Wiseman fell silent.
A tear fell from her eye.
As my graduation date looms nearer and nearer, I can relate.
Wiseman told me when student-athletes are at Belmont, every time they put on a jersey or an article of clothing to wrap themselves with the name “Belmont,” they represent so much more than they could ever imagine. There’s great heritage with the name Belmont, and great stories to be told.
Luckily enough for me, Bee-Dub was able to remind me of that.
You see, the omnipresent “they,” the same one who talks about incessant parties and shenanigans, never really tells you college can teach you how to live and love if you’re willing to take the time to learn.
“They” never tell you the beauty of being spontaneous, or the power of listening versus speaking. Because I learned to listen, I made friends with Cora at Woodruff Park in Atlanta during a trip with UM. That was the “Everywhere Girl’s” home for the day, and she was willing to share her new blanket with me under the bluest of fall skies.
“They” don’t say you’ll cry on your way home after a story interview because the subject spoke with such great conviction and love that God had a plan for you, at the beginning of your senior year, when you needed to hear it most.
“They” don’t tell you to practice the art of intentionality, that relationships are both beautiful and fragile. Schedules get crazy, and it’s easy to lose sight of friends and family. Pick up the phone. Have a coffee date. Heck, have an actual date if you’re feeling really adventurous.
My Belmont story began like most freshmen, awkwardly sitting on someone’s lap during a TT giant icebreaker. It’s only fitting I joined in those shenanigans on the other side of orientation as a TT leader the next two years.
I’ll spare you all of the stories of sophomore year, but do know my roommate from that year and I are still the best of friends, and inventing the game of dorm room baseball may have had something to do with it.
My junior year, somebody thought it would be cute to call me “KGB” during a weekend getaway to my friend’s house in Pigeon Forge, a nickname that not only stuck, but also terrifies strangers.
Then, there’s the time I had to explain to my grandpa this past year why I’m making macaroni and cheese for at least 75 people because Hillside 2710 actually understood the meaning of Thanksgiving.
Oh yeah, in between all of that I wrote about a lot of Belmont basketball, had a couple of internships, went to class, you know, the usual.
These are really little things, but they make for neat stories, don’t they? As Bee-Dub said, the prize is really in the process.
Belmont, some of us are moving forward and others are staying here. Regardless, remember your stories, and lastly, thank you for being a part of mine.