The Amherst College captains participated in their second Amherst LEADS event of the semester on Monday, October 30th. The staple event for captains called “sharing experiences” is a time when the group gets together and is able to bounce ideas of each other, talk about challenges they are facing or anticipate facing and how to navigate those challenges. In addition, captains chatted about things that they have implemented or plan to implement this year to help their teams improve in an idea sharing portion of the workshop. Captains also had the opportunity to skype with current New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater.
The first portion of sharing experiences has a beneficial impact on the captains in that they seek guidance from one another and are able to talk about real-time scenarios that are happening within their teams. Some examples that are brought up can range from goal setting, to navigating time management, to helping first-years acclimate to college life. Captains are able to use this experience to build relationships with one another, continue to set the tone for the year and have things to look forward to as the semester progresses.
The second half of the event was a skype session with New England Patriots special teams captain, Matthew Slater. Slater, who has spent 10 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots has one of the most commendable reputations on the field, off the field and in the community. Being elected captain for six straight years (2011-2016), in addition to being named to six straight pro bowls, his success has not come without the hard work and leadership that has ultimately led him to be an impact player for the organization in multiple ways.
Slater, who has had to deal with and overcome adversity on many different occasions; individual and team, spoke to the captains about trusting the process, the importance of learning from others and having faith in those around you. The skype session was set up as a Q&A. Some questions asked by captains were; how to inspire those who are injured, how to deal with team adversity, the differences and commonalities between working with Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick, the importance of mental preparation and how Slater continues to get up in the morning and have a passion for what he does. All of Slater’s answers were eloquent, thought provoking and provided great perspective to the captains.
Slater, who is now 32, whose passion for the game is still derived from feeling like he has a lot to prove, that he can always get better and do more, Slater knows that what he has been able to experience in the NFL is a unique opportunity and he does not want to take it for granted. Slater wants to continue to be a leader on and off the field, and is motivated by the outside noise. He is a huge contributor to his teammates, and will never back down from being the best he can while remaining humble.
It was a privilege to hear Matthew Slater speak with the captains, and it is our hope that captains were able to learn from someone so dedicated and passionate about how he makes an impact and be able to implement ideas from the evening to aid in the success of their programs.
What’s next for LEADS? Wrapping-up the semester with the final events for First-Years, Futures and Captains.