Oct. 20, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. -
In today's world, the modern-day athlete has garnered a tarnished reputation. Lockouts by professional players in baseball, hockey, and contract disputes across players' unions abound, leaving bad impressions about athletes and the state of athletics all together.
However, the actions of a few do not necessarily represent the demeanor of the whole, as is the case with the Western Carolina University cross country and track & field teams.
Western North Carolina was ravaged by the trio of hurricanes that ransacked the area from mid-August through early October leaving many in the area in dire need of assistance. Numerous citizens lost homes and possessions as rain kept falling and flood waters continued to rise. One such case came to the attention of the Western cross country and track & field athletes.
A local couple from Sylva, N.C., that had recently given birth to their firstborn, a healthy baby girl, lost their home in floods caused by Hurricane Frances. The storm danced through the Southeast dumping anywhere from seven to 11 inches of rain on an already water soaked area locally in Jackson County. The young couple lost nearly everything and were faced with the even larger challenge of caring for their newborn.
Notified by a teammate who is employed with the father, the Catamount cross country and track & field teams came together to take up a collection to donate to the family to assist with the needs of caring for the infant. In all, the team pooled over $100 and presented it to the grateful parent.
The kindhearted cross country team returns to action on Saturday, October 30 at the Southern Conference Championships in Greenville, S.C. The track and field teams begin the indoor portion of their two-semester season in early December. Yet, both squads have already won a great deal off the field with their hearts.