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Flames in the Community

November 20, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Members of the Liberty men's soccer team collect canned goods for the Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat campaign.

The fall athletics season has once again yielded championships for the Liberty Flames, with men's cross country, field hockey and women's soccer bringing conference titles back to Liberty Mountain. Off the field, the Flames have been equally as productive, getting involved in numerous events and campaigns to help make a difference in the local community. Below are several recaps of events and a seminar that Liberty student-athletes were involved in over the last month.

Renowned Leadership and Team Building Specialist Shares with Student Athletes
On Oct. 16, hundreds of Liberty student-athletes gathered in the Williams Stadium press tower to hear a special presentation from Felicia Hall Allen, CEO of Felicia Hall Allen & Associates. Hall Allen, along with her husband Johnny Allen, shared with the group tips for success, being an intentional teammate and realizing that everyone is a part of a bigger picture.

Hall Allen, a native of Shreveport, La., is a former manager of Nike's Women's Basketball Sports Marketing department and a team executive for the WNBA Charlotte Sting. She regularly presents at collegiate conference meetings and on college campuses around the country.

While at Liberty, Hall Allen was provided with a tour of the campus as well as a tour of the Williams Stadium press tower by Athletics Director Jeff Barber. Before presenting to the student-athletes, Hall Allen shared with the Academic Affairs for Athletics staff and brought a great perspective to what it takes to succeed in high-level college athletics.

In an hour-and-a-half long session with Flames' student-athletes, Hall Allen shared with the group about regularly monitoring one's moral compass. She also shared about having a pyramid of success and not deterring from each step on the pyramid. Hall Allen talked about making others feel important and being intentional in one's actions.

"I really liked how she talked about everyone having a role on a team," stated Liberty lacrosse senior Kristen Masullo. "She shared a story that really stood out to me. The story was about a player who never stepped foot on the field, but was there pushing his teammates and picking them up when they needed encouragement. That really stood out to me because it shows that we all have a role that's equally important whether or not you are a starter on someone on the bench. She motivated me to want to push myself to be a leader not only on and off the field, but also to be a champion for Christ."

"I learned that integrity makes a player and that integrity is the core for success," commented Liberty field hockey sophomore Elly Chipman. "Success cannot be reached if you are selfish. For a team's success to occur each player must be selfless in order for the team to reach its goals."

Jocelyn Williams of the Lady Flames Track & Field program had this to share about the seminar: "One thing that impacted me the most about the Felicia Hall Allen presentation is one of the quotes she used, ‘many people want to be a champion, but few are willing to do what it takes'. I really took that quote to heart and have interpreted as giving my all in every area of my life. It does not just relate to athletics, but to the rest of your daily life. In order to be a champion, I need to be well rounded in every area of my life and take the best care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. She also listed certain types of people that are a part of every team or organization, one of them being trailblazers. I have made it my personal goal to become a trailblazer not only for my sport and my team, but also for the university. She inspired me to think of the bigger picture and motivated me to be a part of the generation of athletes that will take this athletics program and university to another level."

Baseball Hosts Spooktacular Event
During the Halloween season, the Liberty baseball team shirked its traditional jerseys and donned costumes and welcomed area children to the Liberty Baseball Stadium to take part in an afternoon of fun and games.

The event was organized solely by several members of the team and was held in conjunction with Academic Affairs for Athletics' Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat campaign. Admission to the event was canned goods. The inaugural event featured games, dance offs and a Harlem Shake, among other activities.

"Baseball really set the example for our other teams that one team can make a difference," commented Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Affairs Kristie Beitz. "The guys bought in 110 percent and really ran with the idea, putting in all the work. This is just another example that our student-athletes realize the importance of giving back to the community, which comes out and supports them in competition." 

Beitz said that the goal for next year is to invite and involve more members of the community and Liberty student body to participate in this fun and creative event.

Canned Food Drive Sets New Mark
On Halloween night, Flames student-athletes went door-to-door in several local neighborhoods, but instead of collecting sugary treats, they sought canned and non-perishable goods. The night was the culmination of a month-long campaign called Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat, which was organized for the third year by Student-Athlete Development Coordinator Morgaine Godwin.

The drive collected a record total of 3,828 items, surpassing last year's amount of 3,540. The Daily Bread of Lynchburg is the recipient of the goods. For the second consecutive year, the Lady Flames lacrosse team brought in the most goods of any team, collecting 955 items. For its efforts, the squad retains the coveted "Golden Pumpkin" award.

The event received tremendous support from all of Liberty's teams as well as athletics support staff. On Halloween night, as student-athletes combed local neighborhoods in search of donations, they were also blessed with opportunities to pray with several families and share with them in that way. 

"This was another successful year for the campaign," mentioned Godwin. "We are continuing to build upon the success of previous years and hope to continue to grow the drive in the future."