The senior class connection: Finish Strong wristbands
March 23, 2005
Several years ago, the current Texas senior women athletes began exploring the idea of a senior project -- a project to bond them together as a graduating class across all sports, to celebrate their accomplishments after four years at Texas and most important, to leave a legacy for those coming after them.
Last year, the seniors participated in a "Senior Salute" video shown at the Women's Athletics Awards Banquet in April. It was a big hit and will become a permanent part of the awards program because of the senior's desire to give some parting words of thanks, advice and wisdom.
So, when the senior female athletes gathered on the ninth floor of Bellmont Hall back in August at Fall Orientation to discuss plans for the upcoming year, ideas were tossed out left and right. "Let's have a formal!" a track and field athlete shouted from the front row. "A 12-month calendar featuring each sport!" came a cry from a golfer. "Wristbands!" piped up someone from the side. Judging from the abundance of Lance Armstrong Foundation yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets adorning the arms of the seated athletes, this idea was already wildly popular.
Yet, getting everyone to agree on producing burnt-orange rubber wristbands for senior female student-athletes was the easy part; deciding what the wristbands would say was quite the opposite.
Suggestions ranged anywhere from "Bevo's Divas" (which was staunchly supported by rowing and golf), to "Believe!" which had soccer's vote. Other ideas included "Live in the Moment", "Power of the Dream", "Light the Tower" and "Senior Legacy". Because time was limited and our UT female athletes are perhaps even more indecisive and stubborn than non-college athletic women (!) the idea was postponed pending an e-mail vote.
Months passed, and the brilliant wristband idea all but faded from the busy memories of athletes-in-training. It did not disappear, however, from the minds of the busy UT women's student services staff which tirelessly worked behind the efforts of Associate AD Dr. Randa Ryan to get the bracelets passed through miles of NCAA Compliance red tape. Eventually they succeeded, and the next hurdle was finding someone to make and distribute the wristbands.
Finally, late in January, the fruits of their labor arrived in box after box delivered to the Academic Services office in Belmont Hall. "Finish Strong" (the winning slogan in a close vote) was emblazoned proudly on the burnt orange rubber of the wristbands.
"I voted for 'Finish Strong' because it symbolizes four years of pushing through all the practices and weights as a team and overcoming all the adversity put in front of you," says senior soccer player Kristin Teter. "It's reminding you to put all that effort together, individually and as a team, to finish the goal you set out to accomplish."
The wristbands were quickly distributed to the delight of the senior women athletes who can now proudly be identified by the burnt orange bracelets adorning their arm.
"On those days when senioritis really kicks in and I don't feel like doing anything, I look at the 'Finish Strong' on the wristband and it reminds me that there's no reason to give up now," senior softball player Wynter Turner stated.
The only question then remaining was what to do with the extra bands.
Because UT athletes are a particularly-generous breed, the seniors decided to sell them as part of a community service project -- either to aid victims of the recent tsunami or to give to the Neighborhood Longhorns program for under-privileged youth in Austin.