All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.
- Rod Dixon

I'm feeling rough. I'm feeling raw. I'm in the prime of my life.

Tuesday - 03/06/07 - Matt Wittig Scholarship

No Workout - Homework till midnight.

Today we had a really special team meeting. In the spring of 2005 after the collegiate road season and a year before I joined the team UW Cycling lost a beloved member. Matt "Navy" Wittig died from injuries sustained in a freak crash in a road race only a year after recovering from brain injuries that Dr's said would certainly kill him.

In Matt's enduring memory the team has raised over $20,000 to create a scholarship fund. Now in it's second year the Matt Wittig Scholarship gives out two $500 awards to UW Cycling team members every year. In order to give all club members an equal opportunity applicants are not judged by financial need or academics. Every member who choses to apply simply submits a roughly 2 page essay on the topic of the role cycling has played in their life. The difficult task of picking the winners is then given to one member or Matt's family, one officer from the team and one community member at large.

We are the first and to our knowledge the only public university in the country to have a club sports scholarship.

The two winners honored this year were
Maija DiSalvo and Charlie Brummitt.

For the 2nd year now Mrs. Wittig came to present the awards at our meeting. We were very greatful for her visit. She and some of the older members of the team who are still around shared stories from Navy's life. It was a great way to remember him.

On thing I thing I think is really powerful about all this how many people care about Navy and his scholarship who DIDN'T know him - myself included. I think it says a lot about the team. Not just that we're a bunch of bleeding hearts but I think it shows we all "understand" Navy a little and so we DO miss him without knowing him. I think this team attracts a certain kind of person so when we hear stories about Navy we ALL think "sounds like we would have been friends".

And that's what's so special about this team. I don't know what it is about liking bikes but for some reason whenever a new person shows up on the team, and that's pretty often, the rest of the team just knows they're high-quality material. We learn their name, give them deals on our parts and our bikes, lend them a uniform, train with them, teach them the sport. Once someone comes along who falls in love with the team it's like we've known them all along.

So that's why I dearly miss Navy.

No comments:

Post a Comment