More than winning

More than winning

Feb 5
Jennifer Shike, Director for Communications and Marketing

Running out of gas. Winning Louisville. Placing a class backwards. Meeting their spouse. Judging cattle in the bitter cold. Practicing oral reasons in the van. Throwing the coach in the swimming pool. Creating memories that would last a lifetime.

I couldn’t help but laugh along as students and alumni shared stories from their time participating on University of Illinois livestock and meats judging teams last Saturday night at their annual reunion. My husband Dan was looking forward to honoring the 2002 team, the first team that he coached by himself as a graduate student in the Department of Animal Sciences. Not only was this team extremely talented and motivated, but they also marked a year of change for the livestock judging team program.

In preparation for his introductions, Dan spent two hours looking up how the team placed at every contest. And when he met with the team before the banquet, not one of them could remember what awards they won. Now this wasn’t because they didn’t win any – they were one of the most successful teams in recent history and won the coveted year-end award. However, what they remembered and spent their time talking about were the friendships they made, the miles they traveled, and the things they learned along the way. Needless to say, Dan changed his introduction.

In the College of ACES, there are so many opportunities to gain experiences like these – experiences not remembered by winning or losing (though we do quite a bit of winning around here!), but experiences measured by friendships and lessons learned.

Illinois Judging Teams Banquet