When Denny Lennon accepted his new role as athletic director at The Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, California, on the west side of Los Angeles, he faced … a culture in need of change. The current athletic program was not competitive. It was a new school, and his job was to create something that would inspire unity and work with the progressive attitude of the school.
“At a school like ours, where it’s a very progressive type of learning environment and we’re trying to break new frontiers,” Lennon said, “Athletics can really serve our girls. Every day you have to pack your bag, have the appropriate gear; bringing your best every day, that’s how you get ahead.”
But to walk into a new environment that’s devoid of athletic success and attempt to build something spectacular, vision is necessary, confidence is key, and inspiration is paramount. Lennon draws his from an old role model, one for athletics and for life — the late John Wooden. Early on, Lennon was simply fascinated at Wooden’s ability to win. Later, after reading Wooden’s books, he realized that “winning” wasn’t necessarily at the heart of winning.
“He was attempting to move toward his definition of success — a self-satisfaction that you did your best,” Lennon said. “Once we target that idea as what we want, the results follow.”
For Archer, results have followed. The school’s 2016-17 highlights include five Liberty League championships won by varsity sports and being named “Champion of Character” by the California Interscholastic Federation’s Southern Section (CIF-SS). In the 2017-18 school year, Archer again won five Liberty League championships but also placed four teams in the CIF-SS finals. For the first time in the school’s history, Archer won a CIF championship, capturing the Division 7 volleyball title.
While Lennon, along with the school and the community, definitely facilitate success, he feels that credit is due mostly to the athletes who comprise Archer’s program.
“It’s the girls who drive motivation,” he said. “They find a way to motivate each other on their own. They don’t want somebody to do poorly so they can get the starting spot. They want everybody to do well, so they create their own kind of motivational methods.”
But how is this possible? How does one create an environment that unifies students? At Archer, every aspect of the school works together to support its counterpart — arts provide creativity, creativity is applied to learning, learning evolves through academics, academics support the brain, athletics support the body. These parts feed each other, and they’re constantly hungry. They’re also willing to give.
Perhaps the success at Archer isn’t just a product of the structure adults have created. It could lie in the student body, girls who are learning to follow broad, ethically-forward themes. A prominent theme for this year: The Force is Female. Just as these student-athletes motivate each other, they also create their own unification. And they might not even realize they’re doing it.
Let the madness begin. As college basketball enters tournament time, Jordan Brand is getting in on the fun by releasing new AJ XXXI Low PEs for some of college basketball’s biggest blue bloods.
Michigan, Georgetown, California, and Marquette will had AJ XXXI PEs drop on March 7 in team-inspired colorways. In addition to the team colors, the PEs will also feature team branding on the heel. For example, the Michigan PE says “Go Blue” on the heels. All pairs are available for $159.99.
What do you think of the PEs? Check out each colorway below and let us know which team has the best sneaker!
Football is called “America’s Game” for a reason. You can travel to almost any state in the U.S. and find a large chunk of the population that loves to play, watch, and talk about the game. However, there are six states that are particularly football-minded: Texas, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, California, and Ohio. In fact, 53 percent of all Division I college players played their high school ball in these six states.
To honor these football hotspots, Under Armour has released its State Pack collection, with glove and cleat color for each location. Each design pays homage to what makes the state unique in a bold and flashy style.
Let’s start with Texas, because you know what they say — everything is bigger in Texas — and that’s certainly true with football. Want to see what the sport means to the state’s citizens? Watch Friday Night Lights. To help Texas’ gear stand out, the state’s famous nickname, “The Lone Star State,” is featured on the cleats while its one-of-a-kind border is featured not once, but twice on the palm of the gloves.
Under Armour is based in Maryland, so you know they’re going to bring it for their version, and they didn’t disappoint. The state’s beloved Terrapins are the basis of this theme. Their unparalleled uniform designs are featured on both the gloves and cleats.
Georgia is well-known for its rich peach industry, so it makes sense that its color would shine a spotlight on the fruit. Gear up in this bright orange gear and you will be impossible to miss.
A Florida color needs to reflect the vacation destination’s warm, summery feel, and these certainly fit the bill. Palm trees, a setting sun, and the state’s “The Sunshine State” moniker help transport you to a beach while you are scorching your opponents.
With so many vibrant cities and unique landmarks, choosing what to feature on the California version could not have been easy. But Under Armour knocked it out of the park by focusing on the state’s flag. The red, green, and white colors and grizzly bear from the flag are the main focus of the gloves and cleats, while “The Golden State” designation makes an appearance as well.
Ohio’s edition lets you support your state and country. Its red, blue, and white colors with the state’s star and circle emblem give it an added patriotic feel. In fact, when the inside of the gloves are put together, they create an image of the full state flag.
With such detail put into each version, the UA State Pack is an outstanding way to show off where you’re from during 7-on-7 play or practice. Let us know which state design is your favorite in the comments.