University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Will Wade asked incoming freshmen to write a letter of appreciation to anybody in their lives and drop off the sealed envelopes, and he would pay for the postage on their behalf.
Appreciation is one of five core values that will lead to satisfaction in everyday life, Wade said Thursday as the keynote speaker during the university's convocation in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall.
Each of the 150 people in attendance received a program and a small note with a quote from Wade. It read: "I believe appreciation, enthusiasm, competitiveness, unselfishness and accountability are the cornerstones for a meaningful college experience. Furthermore, these five values will help lead you towards success and satisfaction in all facets of life."
During his speech, Wade gave a suggestion to students that could help them with each of the five values. He asked them to write the letter. He asked them to show the enthusiasm of one cleaning crew that outshined another. He asked them to compete -- in athletics or anything else.
He asked them to give back to the community, because for what anyone gives, he or she receives back -- tenfold. He asked them to be accountable, and he pointed out the pain of being disciplined versus the pain of regret.
The address was based on the book "This I Believe," which all UTC freshmen are required to read and then write an essay about. Wade read his essay aloud.
"I wanted to read the book, and I found some things applicable to our team," Wade said at the reception. "The values apply to everything and they're all-encompassing, and there's a lot of carry-over to concepts students can apply to life."
UTC junior softball player Taylor Deason attended the convocation.
"I think it's great to bring athletics into these type of settings," she said. "A lot of times we have to get up early, we have to do this or have to do that. So I really enjoyed his 'I get to' message about being appreciative."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP