From the Editor:
Who Made a Difference in Your Life at SHU?
Let Them Know!
Even with social media and its sometimes-exasperating ability to instan-
taneously connect with people anytime, anywhere, at times it’s still difficult keeping in touch with friends and others who have impacted your life.
Today’s college students have the tremendous advantage of using social media to keep in touch with classmates regardless of geographical distance, especially after they graduate. That certainly wasn’t the case for us “old-timers” of the pre-Internet era.
Most of the time, unless it was something like a Homecoming or a random phone call, it was extremely challenging to keep tabs on the people you once saw on a daily basis and who were a huge part of your life during the college years.
Then Facebook hit, and it all changed. Suddenly, high school and college classmates roared back into the picture in excruciating detail, giving me more than I ever wanted to know about their lives, families, careers and sports fan tendencies. I felt like more like a bystander actually, watching lives passing by, occasionally virtually “waving” to them.
Ironically, despite being just an instant message or email away, it’s still sometimes a tough task finding the time to stay connected with those people who affected my life—and more importantly—letting them know how much they did.
That was certainly the case for my former college coach and mentor. Pat Riepma recruited me to play baseball at Hillsdale College. A former star quarterback at HC who not only was the baseball coach but also the sports information director and assistant football coach. He was someone who impacted my life in so many ways during my college days, most of which had nothing to do with baseball.
He helped me get my first newspaper internship at the local newspaper that launched my journalism career. He also hired me as a student assistant sports information director and taught me things like leadership, responsibility and time management. And as fellow Christians, our involvement in the college’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization provided an example of what a man of faith should look like.
After I graduated, he went on to become an incredibly successful and impactful football coach and athletic director at Northwood University. I only had a few communications with him over the years, most being very brief.
Several years back, he developed cancer. He won that initial battle, but last fall, cancer returned, and this past summer eventually claimed his life. My last brief message to him was, “Coach, you are in my prayers always.” His response, “Goody, every day is a gift.”
That was it.
I wish I would have said more, but hopefully he knew the influence he made on my life.
Do you have someone like that who impacted your life while Siena Heights? A coach, faculty or staff member? I know you probably do. There are some incredible people here like Coach Riepma. Don’t wait to reach out to them. Take the time to let them know.
You won’t regret it.