A Different Approach to Athletics

By
September 16, 2004

As the Mills athletic season opens, many women join teams to
improve physically; however, with the unique athletic approach to
sports at Mills they gain so much more.

Unlike most athletic programs at other colleges, Mills takes a
different approach to the development of their athletes; not only
do they focus on the athlete, but, more importantly they focus on
the student, the person and the woman.

“It’s not so much about winning as it is about reaching our
potential,” said Director of Athletics Themy Adachi.

Adachi describes the mission of Mills athletics as, “how you are
going to grow and do things you didn’t think were possible.”

Adachi said that while most colleges are focused on winning, the
athletic faculty here are more concerned with the individual
progress of the athlete and the balance of that individual. The
mission statement of Mills athletics is filled with the overriding
mission of creating an athlete that is balanced academically,
physically and emotionally.

Senior Monica Dorado of the soccer team said, “What’s different
about Mills is that anybody can be a part of the Athletic Dept. We
have people who have a lot of experience and then people who have
never played before.”

When asked how Dorado would compare Mills to other schools in
athletics she said, “The difference is that we are open to
encouraging new inexperienced players to come out and play. That is
rare in college athletics.”

Beyond athletics, every team participates in an event for the
community each year. Some of the many events last year were the
Lunafest, where the soccer team raised money for the Breast Cancer
Fund, Swim-a-Mile, where the swim team raised money for the Women’s
Cancer Resource Center, and the Mills Community Tennis Program,
which provided tennis lessons and tutoring to a local elementary
school.

This is what Adachi feels is most important for a college
student. “When you join one of our teams you can be assured that
you’re going to grow as a person,” she said.

Not only are the athletes expected to give back to the
community, but they are also held to a higher standard
academically.

“We take pride in excelling academically. The athletes in fact
had a higher GPA than the whole of Mills undergraduates last year,”
said Adachi.

The foundation to the athletes’ successes lie mostly with the
coaches and the encouragement of their players. The women who
participate in sports are not only challenged physically by their
coaches, but they are also challenged to be responsible for giving
their full effort toward becoming better people.

Many of the coaches have come to Mills from Division I schools.
Adachi said, “They chose to come here largely because there isn’t
always the pressure to win…these coaches have the passion and
integrity to helping the student in all aspects of life.”

Luba Reznikova, a sophomore, said she appreciates her experience
joining the soccer team for the first time this semester. “I at
once felt comfortable with my teammates, and I am excited to see
what I can accomplish trying something new.”


A Different Approach to Athletics was published on September 16, 2004 in Sports & Health

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