Evan Elliott ′07
I think of myself as an intellectual who loves sports and politics and wants to make what positive impact I can on world. It’s not easy to find a niche for the varied aspects of my personality, but I have found a home at Rhodes.
Let’s talk sports first because that impacts everything else. It led me to coaching a baseball team for nine and 10-year-olds at a nearby church and to my job as an assistant in the sports information department, which requires that I attend virtually all varsity functions, sit in the press box, keep stats, whatever. Athletics also provides outlets for recreation and fitness—I play on the college’s Ultimate Frisbee club team, RhodeKill, and my favorite form of relaxation is to go down to Martyr’s Park on the Mississippi River with a group of friends, grill some steaks and toss around a Frisbee.
You might wonder what sports has to do with intellectual pursuits and my answer is, “a lot.” For one thing, successful athletes have to learn time management, discipline and accountability. In high school, my grades actually went up during baseball season. Playing a sport—even more so than in the classroom—if you don’t manage your time well and show up unprepared, you get beat. And I’ve gotten the opportunity to play some squash with two of my political science professors and learn from them on the court as well as in the classroom.
For someone who loves politics, perhaps it’s surprising that I didn’t get involved in Rhodes Student Government or try to be president of my fraternity, but I believe there are other ways to learn how to be a good public servant. Journalism is one good one, so I took the job as managing editor of the student newspaper, The Sou’wester. It provides the opportunity to force accountability upon the student government, to provide a forum for student debate and to question the college’s leadership, both student and administrative.
After graduation I would like to continue working in sports information for a few years and then move on. I want to do something entrepreneurial and succeed professionally, and do it on my own. One day I’d like to teach, coach and maybe run for elective office. There’s something I have to prove to myself, to fulfill an obligation to leave this place better than I found it.