NEWPORT, R.I. – As a student at the University of Michigan, Sister Jane Gerety says she learned how to watch football … albeit naively. As president of Salve Regina University, she’s taken it to the next level, gaining a new appreciation for how the complex sport offers a multitude of teaching opportunities both on the field and off.
Sister Jane has taken this perspective to the practice field and to film study sessions this week as Seahawks payers and coaches prepare for their Fall Festival Weekend matchup against Western New England University. She’ll also be on the sidelines during the game on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Gaudet Field.
Inviting “guest coaches” during the football season is an idea second-year head coach Bob Chesney brought with him to Salve Regina from his coaching days at Kings College. To have Sister Jane participate the way she has is more than he could have hoped for.
“We’re very happy to have Sister here,” said Chesney. “For her to have the schedule she has and still reach out and be there is excellent. It’s great for everyone involved.”
Sister Jane isn’t simply making appearances this week, she’s taking the opportunity to share important messages with the players.
“What I want to convey to them is the incredible value I see in any athletic contest where you test your mettle against somebody else who is also good,” she said. “You want to be your absolute best … and that translates into the academic realm also.”
Sister Jane said individual effort and accomplishment are not enough in a sport so rich with team cohesion. “You need to be paying attention to where everyone else is and reacting together to it,” she said. “There’s a lot in this that parallels human life. You know what your responsibility is, but whether it’s in a family or work situation you’ve got to also pay attention to other peoples’ responsibilities in order to make the whole thing work. I’m a big believer in all that this teaches you.”
A Religious Sister of Mercy, Gerety has no qualms about showing no mercy on the field and coming out on top. “Winning shows you the fruits of your labor,” she said.
Sister Jane’s appreciation for Salve Regina athletics spreads beyond football. She regularly attends men’s and women’s events on campus and intends to stay involved.
“I want to be an advocate for all the sports. We’ve got some fine athletes and I want to encourage that.”