Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lipscomb's Bree Thurman Talks SAAC with the A-Sun

Lipscomb University's Bree Thurman is a junior outfielder on the Lady Bison softball team. In her freshman season (2010), Lipscomb won the A-Sun championship and played in the NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Highlights for her in 2011 included finishing second on the team with a .271 batting average, leading the Lady Bison in walks (33), OBP (.418) and steals (13) and playing error-free in the field for the second consecutive season. Her steals tied her for eighth in the A-Sun and she was also third in the conference in walks. Off the field she is a two-time member of the A-Sun All-Academic Team and in 2011 she earned NFCA Scholar Athlete honors. Today Bree talks about her involvement in the A-Sun's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

A-Sun: Why do you work with SAAC?
BT: I got involved with SAAC my freshman year because there was an opening and I had been told that it would look good on my resume. However, I continue to work with SAAC because I love getting involved with the community, and I have learned a lot about leading, organizing fundraisers, and the amount of work it takes to have such a large group of individuals come together. I truly believe that my time with SAAC has been one of the greatest experiences I've had in college in terms of preparing me for my future career.

A-Sun: What is SAAC’s role on campus?
BT: SAAC's main role is unifying fellow student athletes and bringing us together to raise awareness and fund raise for various community service projects.

A-Sun: What is the most rewarding community service project you have done with SAAC?
BT: Right now we are working on a project for the Contributor. It's this really cool newspaper that is actually written by the homeless. They write them and then go stand in the streets throughout the Nashville area and sell them for a dollar and get to keep most of that money for themselves. I know that my teammates— and several others— will literally dig through our cars to find money to give to these people when we see them. We know that they have worked hard to make money and it feels nice to be able to help them out. So raising money to help the Contributor is probably the most rewarding fundraiser we have done with SAAC, or at least for me personally.

A-Sun: Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb and to play for an A-Sun team?
BT: It was actually a very unconventional recruiting process for me to end up at Lipscomb. I was prepared to go play at a much bigger school but at the last minute I got a call from Coach Ryman. I decided to take the recruiting trip and I left really loving Coach Peck and Coach Myers. I wasn't thrilled about staying so close to home and going to such a small school, but for whatever reason I felt like it was the right choice. The school is in a great area and I also felt as though I had a chance to be a big part of a program that was on the rise. A lot of my friends chose to go to big schools that had already made their mark on the softball world. But I really liked the idea of being part of "the beginning" of a great program. I could not be happier about the decision I made to be a Bison.

A-Sun: What is a typical day for you as a Bison entail?
BT: Like just about every other student athlete would say, our lives are pretty much a routine. Wake up, go to class—or go to weights on those unfortunate days we have lifting at 6 a.m.— eat lunch, maybe have an hour break that most of us spend in the training room getting treatment, and then go straight to practice for the rest of the day. After about 4 hours of practice we eat dinner, do some homework, and then go to bed just to wake up and do it all over again. To some that might seem boring, but for me, I love it. We work hard at practice, but anyone who knows our team knows we like to have fun. We love spending time together. To be able to do that while also playing the sport we love is an incredible thing. Plus all the time and work we put in pays off on game day.

A-Sun: How do you envision SAAC’s role in the Nashville community in the future?
BT: I am hopeful that SAAC will be able to form longstanding relationships with the organizations we have worked with in the past. If we could turn our fundraisers into annual events that the community came to expect, I think we would be able to raise a lot of money and awareness for the organizations with whom we choose to work.

A-Sun: Talk a little about Lipscomb playing in NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa in your first year.
BT: Playing in the Tuscaloosa Regional was one of my favorite softball experiences ever. To win the conference and make it to a regional felt great, but to get to play against the No. 1 team in the country was just an added bonus. We knew we had nothing to lose going into the tournament, and honestly we were not afraid. We beat some highly ranked teams that year and played some very stiff competition. At that point, and even still with our current team, big names didn’t scare us. However, it wasn't just who we got to play that was cool, it was the whole environment. We were playing in front of 3,000 people—it was invigorating. After our first game against Bama we really gained respect among the fans. I think we had a lot of Bama fans cheering for us when we played UAB later that day. After getting to play in that environment in my first year, I came to expect that level of success. After not making it back to a regional last season, our team is definitely hungry to return to that stage and we are excited for the opportunity this season.

A-Sun: What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
BT: This sounds incredibly lame, but we don't have ample amounts of spare time so honestly just sitting around the dorm rooms watching movies and hanging out with my teammates is one of my favorite things to do. Outside of that, Nashville is as they say, "Music City." There are always concerts going on. We can literally just pick a day to go downtown and there is likely some big-name country music star with an event. The best part is that they put on several free concerts which is always good for the "college kid" budget. Going to concerts or other events in beautiful downtown Nashville is at the top of my list of favorite things to do.

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