At Trevecca, being an athlete is about more than just winning. The expectation for athletes is embodying the Trevecca athletic motto: Christian. Scholar. Athlete.
Brooke Eakes, Megan Groves, Matti Byrd and MaKray Odom are living out that motto as they pursue their degrees in elementary education while competing on the softball field for the Trojans.
“Those four embody what we desire for all of our athletes, which is to be a Christian, Scholar, Athlete,” said Mark Elliott, Trevecca athletic director, echoing the athletic department’s motto.
All four students share a passion for softball, but these teammates are also bound by a common goal: helping children achieve their potential. For Eakes, Groves, Byrd and Odom, a degree in elementary education seemed to be the best way to achieve that goal.
“Teachers are very important,” Odom, a senior, said. “A lot of kids don’t have a good home situation, and, if I can be that drive for them to be the best they can be, that’s what I want to be.”
Megan Groves, a junior, echoes that desire.
“I always had teachers encourage me and let me know I was good enough and that played a big role in my life,” she said. “I want kids to know you are good enough and don’t let anything stand in your way from achieving your goals.”
For Dr. Tandy Taylor, one of the students’ primary professors in Trevecca’s School of Education, this passion for teaching is apparent.
“Our athletes are some of the School of Education’s most outstanding teacher education candidates,” Taylor said.
On the softball field, the four are polar opposites. Eakes is in the outfield; Byrd a catcher; Odom plays shortstop; and Groves at first base. Despite their different positions, they are connected through their love of the game and shared passion for teaching. It’s something they say binds them together on and off the field.
“We push each other toward the same goal and want to be the best out there and confide in each other on our failures and successes,” Eakes said.
Groves says their time spent together on the field and in the classroom brings them closer together as friends, teammates and students.
“All four of us are super close,” Groves said. “We do everything together from hanging out, doing homework, traveling and competing, but the biggest thing is we always pick each other up when we’re down. We are always together and know how to cope with each other and relax.”
Sharing their time on the field and in the classroom, Odom says it has made competing on the field less stressful.
“On the field, our entire team has been like sisters,” Odom said. “[As] education majors, we can have inside jokes. If one [of us] is up to bat, we say, ‘Do it for the kids!’ That keeps us laughing and takes our mind off the stress of the game.”