When I first got word that our ski team was going to be issued a citation, I fell into a bit of a panic. We’ve been through so much. What could we have possibly done to deserve this? Ironically, the answer was “speeding,” among other things. As it turns out, citations – when issued by the state legislature – is quite an honor. The award was sponsored by State Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, co-sponsored by Senator Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Andy Josephson, and voted on by every member of the legislature.
“UAA Skiing is a big deal,” said Rep. Spohnholz. “The community rose up to support skiing when it was threatened.” Senator Bill Wielechowski later added that our legislative award “outlines the sum of the accomplishments” of our team, and that he was proud to recognize a “culture of excellence.” Rep. Josephson said unequivocally that all branches of government must protect these important programs. “The three of us (Reps. Josephson, Spohnholz, and Sen. Wielechowski) have worked with all the other legislators to prevent that kind of thing from happening. It was needless,” said Rep Josephson.
For the returning athletes who remember 2020, the ceremony was sweet justice. For our new student-athletes, it was a reminder of expectations and a lens into our team’s lengthy collection of accolades spanning more than 40 years. For me, and for all those who helped our program navigate some rough ocean, it was a moment of poignance and promise. The framed award will be hung in the entrance to the Alaska Airlines Center for athletes, coaches, and fans to see as they pass through our hallways that link gyms, courts, and locker rooms – serving as a reminder to give your best, and never take anything, or anyone, for granted.