by Kaitlyn Garrett / Lion Staff
Let’s just say that we’re a highly competitive school. We compete with each other in the classroom, on the stage, on the field, in the cafeteria lunch line...
And that competitiveness is not only thriving in the student body. Let this article reassure you that it is BOOMING for the faculty as well.
On April 9th, a “war” among faculty members erupted over a step challenge initiated through the Lovett Wellness Program. Participants were given a FitBit and had until May 7 to rack up as many steps as possible. Everyone would be an enemy. After all, the reward was a $25 gift card for the members of the team with the highest step average. Each would also have 100 points added onto their Lovett Wellness Portal score. And there was the eternal glory, of course.
Which would explain all of that hopping and moving that Coach Davis did during the last fire drill.
But how did this all start?
Three or four year ago, employees were given the opportunity to take pilates, yoga, and crossfit. There was a “grateful challenge” in which employees logged something they were thankful for every day in their personal Lovett Wellness Portal.
“Wellness is really important to us at Lovett,” Ms. Hodnett, the director of Human Resources says.
The Lovett Wellness Program is available to all Lovett employees, and tallying for the points began at the end of January and ends this month.
Human Resources here at Lovett wanted to end the year with a challenge that was really fun and different, therefore inspiring the step challenge.
“We worked with our healthcare provider and they said if you want to do it, anyone who doesn’t have a Fitbit, we’ll get them one,” Ms. Hodnett explains.
One hundred fitbits were distributed, and then the wellness program began to divide people into different groups for the competition.
In addition to a lower school, middle school, and high school team, there was team Plant Food (Plant & Dining services), Team Marsha (Library, ASAP, ARC), team Stewart (Advancement, Communications, BTA), Team Angie (HR, Campus Shop, IT, Infirm, Business Office), and Team AAA (Admissions, Athletics, and Fine Arts).
One thing that was unexpected, Ms. Hodnett explains, is how crazy and competitive the competition became.
“We have teachers getting up early to get more steps,” she says. “Mr. Palmer gets here at 6:30 in the morning to go run, we have teachers like working out all weekend, we have walking meetings after school.”
The competition was so successful that it will take place again in the fall.
Coach Melito and his wife already go out and walk every weekend as well as working out every morning: “It was just an addition to what we had already been doing to try and stay active and to be an addition to the group and try to do our part.”
But health benefits were not the only ones that came out of the competition, according to Coach Melito.
“It was really neat to see, one, the competitive nature, but also how fun it was across divisions… it’s brought people together that normally don’t see one another.”
Coach Davis was the first place winner of the competition. His motivation was to live out his role as a teacher of lifetime fitness education, and of course, win the competition among colleagues.
Coach Davis ran often on the Silver Comet Trail, he walked a lot during tennis practices and matches, and he walked his dog more frequently. As a member of the tennis team, I can attest to the fact that I cannot remember the last time we saw Coach Davis sit down at practice.
He says that his biggest competitors were Kenyon Boatfield, Carey Duda, and Valerie Pickens.
And now for the answer to your biggest question. No, he absolutely did not cheat.
Coach Boatfield came in second overall in the competition. However he says that if he hadn’t been sick for three days, he would have knocked Coach Davis out of first place.
The activities that gave him the most steps overall were running between 4-8 miles everyday, working out for around an hour everyday, and hitting tennis balls everyday.
Carry Duda, a lower school teacher, has been training for a marathon these past few months, so her already athletic activities helped the Lower School in the competition.
“I am a really competitive person so when I found out about the step challenge, I wanted to help team Lower School win,” she explains.
She also enjoyed going on long walks and runs with her dog, Sidney.
Mr. Sauter came in first for the middle school team. His motivation for the competition was his fellow colleagues determination to help the middle school team win overall.
“I never realized I was a competitive person until I saw that I could be on the leaderboard,” he says.
He typically already goes to the gym before school, but for the month of the competition, several of the 6th grade teachers made a point to go walking at least one free period a day.
“One day I hit 42,000 steps,” Mr. Sauter says “It was a cardio day for me at the gym, which meant I was running on the treadmill. We then pushed with the walking group to go hard that day. I walked in circles around my class all day - the students actually asked if I had to go to the restroom at one point because I was pacing as I was talking. When I got home I saw that I was past 35,000 and thought I just had to keep walking to see if I could break 40k.”
Team Plant food won the competition overall with a total amount of 5,255,121 steps.
It’s not quite as exciting as a Friday night on the Riverbank, but in the end, the fierceness of the faculty competitors in the step challenge should teach us one thing: No battle is too small to be fought here at Lovett.