April 2017 newsletter

Connecting with the Spirit of Pat

By Ryan Wadding

April is here, and you know what that means — the 13th annual Pat’s Run! If you plan to run but haven’t registered yet, be sure to sign up soon.

This month I sat down with the director of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, Steven Borden, CAPT USN (Ret.), to talk about the spirit of Pat Tillman and how our students can connect to that spirit.

“Our student veterans know that you cannot be mediocre, because it can mean failing at a mission or getting people killed. Yet many times when veterans transition out of the military, they do not strive for perfection in what they do next.”

One aspect of Pat that Director Borden says current students can relate to is how “he was an individual that absolutely wanted to do well in everything he did, in the classroom and on the field. He had no tolerance for people who were willing to settle.”

Director Borden recalls a story about Pat: “There was a new ASU linebackers coach, and Pat pokes his head into the new coach’s office and says, ‘I understand you are the new linebacker guy. Well, you better be good at what you do because I want to be the best linebacker in the Pac-10.’ The coach had no idea who Pat was until one of his colleagues said, ‘I guess you met Pat.’ That is the kind of person Pat was.”

If you want to connect with the spirit of Pat, Director Borden says, “Remember that you succeeded in the military, and now you should have the expectation that you will continue to strive for perfection and succeed here, and succeed in whatever you decide to do afterward.”

Our military advocate, Michelle Loposky, tells every student veteran at the welcome orientation, “We do not expect you to be Pat, but to be the best version of you.” That is what the spirit of Pat Tillman is all about. As you run this month for Pat Tillman and you make the final push into finals week, we hope you keep that foremost in your thoughts.