Hodag Love

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kevin Crowley Spirit Award

Dear Hodag alums,
College regionals is May 4-5 for the Hodags and once it is over we plan to give the graduating seniors an opportunity to elect the first winner of the Kevin Crowley Spirit Award.
There are a number of reasons that alumni have expressed interest in this idea. It’s a chance to reward a Hodag who plays with particular spirit and effort; to give back to the program in a meaningful way; to reconnect to the current team now that we have all moved on; and to celebrate the life of Kevin Crowley, a Hodag who passed at 25 and whose life has been inspiring to many Hodags and alum ever since.
A bunch of alum (most of whom graduated in 2001 or earlier) have been talking about what type of award we’d like to grant, what kind of player we’d like to reward and how to ensure that it lives up to Kevin’s name. Among the people who have played a role are Hodag coach Hector Valdivia, Charlie Reznikoff, Nate Franz, Matt Bruss, Ryan Carrington, Jammin, Chuck Schick, and Rhubis, Kevin’s brother.
First, the award should be given to a returning player, so that it can be passed on from year to year. Second, no player should be able to win the award more than once. Third, the graduating seniors, who know their teammates the best, should choose the winner for the year. The ballots would be filled out after regionals and the winner would be announced at the end of Nationals (ideally after the Hodags have finished celebrating). Then the ballots will be sent to alum so we can learn about the winner and the other players nominated before the award is passed down.
Here is what’s in it for the winner:
-- A fully paid for flight to Nationals. If Nationals does not require a flight (such as this year), a ticket to a tournament next year.
-- A new pair of cleats, of their choosing.
-- Ryan Carrington (co-captain of the 2003 national champions) is a sculptor and has designed a trophy that, like the Stanley Cup, will have each winner’s name added to it. Ryan assures us it will be completed shortly. Charlie Reznikoff, 1998 co-captain, is handling the trophy logistics and has agreed to pay for it. Here are some examples of Ryan's work.
-- The winner will also likely receive a baby blue jersey with the name “Crowley” on the back featuring and a jersey number representing the year that they won (this year’s winner will get jersey no. 13). At the end of each season, the incumbent winner can bestow a jersey upon the new winner (something like the green jacket at the Masters). Nate Franz, 2001 co-captain, has agreed to order and have the jersey delivered.
Hodag Love!
Dear graduating Hodag,
Pretty soon, believe it or not, you will be one of us -- a Hodag alumn. But before you join our ranks, we’d like you to help us give something to back to this year’s team.
Playing for the Hodags has meant so much to so many of us that a large number of alumni decided recently that we’d like to give back to the program in the way of an annual award named for former Hodag Kevin Crowley.
For those who have not heard of him, Kevin Crowley was a UW player from 1990-1993, during which time the team took on the name Hodags. As a player he was highly aggressive and tireless -- often guarding the other team’s best player and excelling at whatever position the team needed on offense. He played the way he lived -- fearlessly -- and with the intent to have as much fun as he and his teammates possibly could.
More important than any of Kevin’s skills was his ability to motivate his teammates through his work habits and his will to win. He never backed down, never gave up and never took off a practice or a game. At the same time, his teammates and opponents remember him as the most spirited player on the field, quick to congratulate an opponent on a great play and never bending the rules to win. He didn't need to. He loved the game and his teammates and he carried that love with him every day.
Kevin Crowley died after a long illness at age 25. His funeral was packed to the brim with people who knew and loved him. The inscription on his gravestone reads “a life lived...in the spirit of the game.”
With the Kevin Crowley Spirit Award, the Hodag alum would like to identify one player each year who best represents the ideals with which Kevin lived and played. You and your classmates will choose this year’s winner from among the Hodags who will return to the team next year. Here’s what we would like to know:
1. If there is one player whose attitude and dedication you would most like to instill in your teammates and future Hodags, who would it be?
2. What about this person motivates you to be a better teammate, competitor or person?
3. Lastly but more importantly, please provide one or more examples of this person’s commitment to playing with exemplary spirit or demonstrating an uncommon commitment to fairness in the midst of intense competition.
Thank you for your help and please enjoy your final time as a Hodag. The memories you make will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Hodag Love