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October 19, 2011

Best Kept Secret

Best Kept Secret


I'm not sure what my fellow students have been writing about in the blogs up until now, but I highly doubt their posts will be anything like mine. I have never considered myself a “good writer." Really, if I were a good writer I probably would have used a better word than “good." Yet here I am because I have to tell you that one of America's best kept secrets is nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. 

            Now, most of you all probably think that the students at Summit Semester are here to learn a bunch of academic stuff like theology, politics, church history, etc. You're wrong. We're really at a top secret volleyball camp. One of the best in the country at that. Here at Snow Wolf Lodge we eat, sleep, and live volleyball. We have a state of the art sand volleyball court, lots of volleyballs, and 31 students eager to play. We spend hours everyday in the hot mountain sun perfecting our serves, sets, and spikes. Some of us need more practice than others (for their sake they shall remain unnamed). Come December some of us will probably be recruited to the top teams in America. Rain, snow, or sleet, nothing can stop us from playing volleyball. We actually played snow volleyball last week in our first snow storm here at the lodge! Although I prefer to play in sand, snow isn't that bad, it just hurts twice as bad when you hit the ball. 

            When we're not playing volleyball we do actually learn theology, politics, church history, and study the Bible. I've learned so much while being here, but I'm sure the other students have already informed you of that, so I won't bore you by repeating it. Instead, I'll tell you about two of the major forces shaping our lives here. First is community

            Living in community can be quite difficult at times, but it creates certain bonds that could never have happened apart from all of us students living together for so long. It's been exactly five weeks since I first arrived here, and my opinion on many things has changed. One of the main ways I've changed is in my opinion of the students. 

            When you first arrive at Semester, everyone is sweet and nice and trying to please others all the time. A few weeks in though, and real personalities begin to emerge. I bet you're expecting me to say that now my opinion has changed in a negative way. However, my opinion has changed for the better. I am ashamed to say that all too often I judge people rather quickly based on outward aspects instead of who they are on the inside. Getting to know the other thirty students here has been really amazing. Listening to everyone's stories, laughing with them, comforting them when needed, these things (in addition to the volleyball, of course) bond us closely together. We grow, not just through learning, but through working together as well. I've gotten to know several students better while baking bread, cleaning out cars, or sanding log walls. Everyone here is pretty amazing, and I don't say that lightly. As I'm typing right now, students are helping each other study or reading out loud together.

            Another aspect of Semester that I doubt has been touched on yet is Bauman. As most of you probably know already, Dr. Bauman is our main teacher here. We have him for about 7 ½ of the 12 weeks we're here. The first week he was here he scared the living daylights out of me. Every time he'd call on me in class, I'd immediately start sweating. After a few classes though, I got used to him. I even dared to raise my hand and ask questions. When students raise their hands here, they are usually subjecting themselves to the ruthlessness of Dr. Bauman. He questions everything we believe so that we can better understand why we believe it.  No matter what side we take, he will always take up a defense of the other side. It's very stressful at times, and quite embarrassing when you can't explain why you believe something. At first I was afraid of messing up in front of all the really smart students. But I soon learned that everyone here is learning together, and it's not embarrassing to mess up because everyone messes up sometimes. Everyone occasionally has a stupid answer. But no one ever has a stupid question. That's one of the great things about being here. The rest of the Semester experience you'll have to find out on your own by coming here, or by continuing to read the blog.

            For now, I'm off to face the wrath of the ruthless Bauman!

 Mary Faith Pittman

Mary Faith has been involved in sports for most of her life, and comes to Summit Semester with a drive to teach people to live in an active, healthy way. She was captain of her high school’s rowing team, and was honored with a rowing scholarship to a college in her home state. She plans to get a degree in some aspect of physical education and use it to influence people because “God’s world is amazing, as well as lost, and I’d like to be an influence for Him.”



This post has earned 4 Comments so far.

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  • October 19, 2011 // 06:29 pm //  # 
    Russell Johnson's avatar Russell Johnson

    Your enthusiasm for volleyball is a shimmering beacon of hope in these turbulent economic times.

  • October 20, 2011 // 04:36 am //  # 
    brite's avatar brite

    Good to get a little more insight into your days. It sounds like the volleyball is a strategic balance to all your hours sitting in class- good move, Summit. So, does EVERYONE play volleyball? I’m trying to imagine myself there, wondering if I would just morph into a good player, or if there would be anyone to join me on the sidelines. smile

  • October 21, 2011 // 08:19 am //  # 
    Proud Mom of Mary-Faith's avatar Proud Mom of Mary-Faith

    Love your transparency and love what Summit is doing in your life! Wish we lived close enough to come visit and see the famous volleyball area, and meet the infamous Bauman. (I’m sure you’re being very respectful to him, dear, right?! smile

  • October 21, 2011 // 11:34 am //  # 
    Nancy Ledford's avatar Nancy Ledford

    Mary-Faith, I have always thought you were an exceptional young lady…and now I learn you are inspiring as well!
    Praising the Lord for your zeal for Him and your enjoyment of volleyball.
    You are a blessing and I am so grateful to have read your blog today! smile

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