This is a short interview with senior Emily Lines about the UNM Leadership course she (and Jaisa and AT) is in this semester. UNM has a Leadership Academy for employees, and Amy Beggin is in charge of a version of it for athletes.
Joe: What I want to do is take a few minutes to talk about the leadership course you have been in. First, congratulations on getting into it.
Emily: Thanks. Each sport sends two or three students and we meet about once a month learning leadership techniques. It’s with Amy Beggin; she runs it. Amy was saying how a lot of athletes are thrown into leadership positions and it is assumed that when you get older, you are supposed to be a leader on a team, but no one ever teaches how to lead, how to be an example to your teammates. So that’s what it’s all about.
Joe: The University has had programs like that for people outside of athletics as well. It’s nice that they do it specifically for athletes. So how did you get selected for it?
Emily: I’m not sure. Coach told me. It’s me, Jaisa, and AT who are doing it for our team. We got a note from Amy and we were in.
Joe: What is it like so far?
Emily: We talked about what the goal is for the Academy. Then we split up into groups—there were about six groups–where we did a contest where you had to be creative. We were given marshmallows and noodles and the goal was to build the tallest tower. Those were the only instructions so you could literally do anything. My group we got really creative although we didn’t really build anything. We stuck the marshmallows to the wall and stuck the noodles on the wall with the marshmallows. We built it up as high as we could reach. Thankfully, I and a volleyball girl are both really tall, so were really able to get it up really high. The other groups actually built structures. It was easy trying to build the tallest one. It was an exercise to see how people worked together and see the different types of creativity.
Joe: With that, and basketball, and senior classes, it’s going to be a full year.
Emily: Definitely, but I think it will be good. I think it is really important to go to this Academy because it helps me become a better leader and that way I can help my teammates.
Joe: Those skills are for more than just the last year of basketball.
Emily: Yeah, it’s preparing for life.
Joe: Speaking of which, what does life look like after this year?
Emily: I want to go to grad school, but I’m not sure where or for what.
Joe: What areas are you looking at?
Emily: Either Education or Data Science. I know those two are not similar sort of things, but I like both of them.
Joe: I suppose that depends on what you are teaching. They are really both skill sets that apply to almost anything.
Emily: I think so, too. I really don’t know what I want to do as a career yet. So that’s the plan.
Joe: Since I have you here, if you gave a 90 second preview of the basketball team this year, what would it look like?
Emily: We’re fast. We have a lot of skilled players that work hard and compete every day so I think we will be a lot of fun to watch this year. I think we are going to be better than we were last year. It’s going to be lots of fun and I’m looking forward to it.
— Lobo Women's Basketball (@UNMLoboWBB) December 7, 2017
Joe: I think it’s going to be different. A lot more wide open. You lost four starters from last year. That’s a lot of room for people to move in.
Emily: True, but we’ve got a lot of good new players, though.
Joe: But they look like freshman. One minute they look good and the next, they look like, “Where am I?”
Emily: Yes, I know. They are learning though.
Joe: What I find nice to see is you, Jaisa, Jaedyn and even Nike are working to bring the new players along, translating between coach speak and player speak.
Emily: That’s important, I think. It’s so hard when you are a freshman to come into a new place and learn a new offense. Everything is moving so quickly, so it helps to have older girls to explain it to you a little bit better. Sometimes just in different words.
Joe: It helps, but that doesn’t always happen. I think just the variety of offensive sets and the “if this, then do that” kind of thinking trees makes it harder in this offense. If you go back–and I know you were not here–to Coach Flanagan’s system, he basically had the Green Bay Packers philosophy: “You know exactly what we are going to do, we’re just going to do it well enough that you still can’t stop us”. I think that kind of thing is much easier to learn.
Emily: I think our offense is tougher to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it’s kind of the same thing. Once you do one thing, you have two or three options out of that. Then you have two or three options out of that option. So it’s like a domino effect.
Joe: Just think about what you said, that’s already up to nine branches. If you grab one of those freshman and ask them, “Tell me what you do in this situation”, they will think and answer it. But when you are out there on the court, having to do that without thinking…
Emily: Yeah, you don’t have time to think.
Joe: That’s the biggest thing I’ve seen with Jaedyn now verses last year. That fraction of a second of hesitation, “Oh, I’m supposed to be over here”–I don’t see that now with her, she is just anticipating and moving.
Emily: It takes time for that to be imprinted in your mind. Then it’s like a habit. At least for me now.
Joe: Anything else you would like to say?
Emily: I’m really looking forward to it. Last year. It’s going to be a good one. Yeah, it’s crazy; time flies.