Most faculty, staff, and students at Simpson University know of my interest in running. I have been running for approximately 45 years of my life and have completed in more road races than I can count. You will note a picture that was recently taken after I had successfully completed the Three Bridges Half-Marathon along the Sacramento River in Redding. I even managed to win an award in my age category. I am certainly glad that they make provisions for old guys like me. I continue to enjoy running even if I do get older and slower every year.
Interestingly, my passion for running started as a student athlete in high school and continued during my college years. Running has not only provided me with a regular fitness routine, it has also taught me valuable lessons about life. This is no doubt one of the reasons why I continue to believe that intercollegiate athletics is such an important part of the student experience at Simpson University.
As a former college athlete, coach, and now as a president who enthusiastically supports our Red Hawks athletic teams, I wish to comment on just how sports competition does relate to the mission of a Christian university. Athletics is more than just recreation, although this is a worthy outcome. Being involved in intercollegiate athletics, and competing against other colleges and universities, develops values and life skills that will serve student athletes well for the rest of their lives, long after their playing careers are over. These life-long qualities include fitness, discipline, leadership, confidence, teamwork, service, strong work habits, ability to deal with adversity, and integration of Christian faith into all of life. The valuable lessons that our student athletes learn will help them when they move on to become leaders in their families, their churches, and their communities.
It has been almost forty years since I concluded my career as a college athlete, yet I still think back to the valuable lessons that I learned about life and faith. This is why I have often stated that athletics is a microcosm of life. This is one of the reasons why I provide strong support for intercollegiate athletics, just as I do for many other valuable curricular and co-curricular programs. Athletics does fit with the mission of Simpson University.
Dr. Larry J. McKinney