Sunday January 21st kicked off the beginning of the 2018 programming for the Amherst LEADS Captains and First- Year Initiative Program. The two groups started the day together going to Winchester High School to listen to former Professional Hockey Players Rick Middleton and Andy Brickley. Middleton was a first-round draft pick for the New York Rangers in 1974. He was later traded to the Boston Bruins in 1976 when he scored a hat trick in his first game as a Boston Bruin. Brickley was a college hockey player for the University of New Hampshire where he led the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four in 1982. In 1980, while still in college Brickey was drafted to the Philadelphia Flyers and in 1983 was traded to the Pittsburg Penguins. He was later traded to the Boston Bruins playing 71 games during the 1888-1989 season.
Brickley and Middleton had some important take away messages for the Captains and First-Years. They talked about as athletes the challenges they faced. “You can always overcome” a challenge Andy Brickley told the students. He also talked about leadership qualities he saw in teammates and coaches. On one of his teams, he said he learned a lot from the best player on the team who never took short cuts and was always the one who was at practice early, and setting an example for everyone else. Middleton said “when you are drafted, that doesn’t mean you made it.” His message for the student-athletes was that you always need to prove yourself. Brickley finished up by talking about the transition after sport. He stressed the importance of time and talking to your peers who have been thorough the same thing. Sunday was a special afternoon for Amherst LEADS to hear from two former successful professional athletes.
Following the guest speakers, the first-years went to Malden Massachusetts for a favorite event of the program. For the third year Amherst LEADS brought a group to Boda Borg for an afternoon of Questing. Questing consists of teams of three to five individuals, tackling both mental and physical challenges. Success on the first part of the challenge means an opportunity to move onto the next part of the challenge. Failure in any part of the challenge means starting back at the beginning, or going to try a different quest. Amherst LEADS continues to bring student-athletes back to Boda Borg year after year because of the teamwork, communication, and trial and error of the unknown you need to successfully complete each quest.
The Captains participated in a new activity for Amherst LEADS. They headed to Braintree Massachusetts and went to F1 Boston, an indoor go-kart center. We picked F1 Boston for the Captains because “F1 Boston’s unique, total participatory approach uses the parallel tenets of both racing and business – leadership, teamwork, attention to detail, competition, and focus – all critical to the success of any race.” At the end of the event, our top three finishers on the race track were Caroline Fiore, Zach Bessette, and Adrienne Irmer.
Another fun filled Amherst LEADS event in the books for two groups. The semester starts tomorrow, and in a couple of weeks we will have our first Futures event on Sunday February 11th.