In Fords in Four, we ask an alumnus four questions; he shares insights and stories. In this blog post, Grant Ament '15, a professional lacrosse player with Archers LC, shares memories from Haverford, discusses how he stays motivated as a professional athlete, and gives advice for younger students.
What do you carry with you from your time at Haverford?
Of course, I have a lot of great memories of EA Day, and my senior year when the lacrosse team went undefeated. But I think that the relationships I built at Haverford is the biggest thing that I carry with me. I still keep in contact with Mr. Keefe who was my advisor, soccer coach, English teacher and with Dr. Ehrhart, my history teacher. I’ve also been in touch with Brendon Dawson, the new lacrosse coach, and the rest of the current team.
As I continued in college athletics, I have realized that not all teachers and not all coaches are as devoted to their jobs as the ones at Haverford. The teachers at Haverford are so dedicated and provided a blueprint on how to go about their profession and be passionate about it. My favorite teachers just loved whatever subjects they were teaching. For example, Mr. Keefe is so passionate about teaching English, inside and outside the classroom; I know that’s his true self. I admire the way the faculty set an example for the younger generation about how to stay dedicated to something. Now, as a young 23-year-old I’m trying to be a mentor to younger athletes because I realize the impact those teachers have had on me, and like them, I want to share my passion with others.
Tell me about your work with the Attack Academy. What do you hope to teach those students?
I started working with Attack Academy when Rob Pannell, who was one of my biggest idols in high school, asked me to come along with him. I always liked coaching when I was younger because I liked the idea of having an impact on younger players or any players who needed help. Rob asked me to help and through the Attack Academy we are able to share our knowledge in more of a distinctive way. It’s more than coaching - it’s an app, it’s a camp - different ways of teaching the skills that we have learned.
In terms of coaching the biggest thing is impact. I read a lot about Kobe Bryant (RIP) and my favorite quote of his is “The most important thing is to inspire people so they can be great at what they do.” Personally, I’m such a lacrosse fan so being friends and working with Rob is such a dream come true for me. I know what an impact players like him had on me – I’m trying to keep that in mind and show lacrosse fans that I’m also a regular guy who loves the sport as much as they do. I know where I was not less than 10 years ago, and I try to keep that in mind when I’m teaching the next generation.
I have realized that not all teachers and not all coaches are as devoted to their jobs as the ones at Haverford. The teachers at Haverford are so dedicated and provided a blueprint on how to go about their profession and be passionate about it.
Your career as a professional lacrosse player is enviable. How do you maintain your work ethic? What are some of your goals?
First of all, I’d love to play a real season again – that’s goal #1. Overall my goal is to continue to keep expanding what I can do on the field and keep learning. There’s a lot for me to learn still – physically, mentally – so much I can be better at doing. I keep a learner’s mindset– always expanding what I can do. Obviously, I want to be great as I want to be – any accolades will come and go. But I keep elevating my game. Looking back at my season, I wasn’t happy with how I played certain games, or how my team didn’t make it to the championship. The beauty of sports is that no one is a finished product, and I still have a lot of time to keep getting better which is really exciting to me.
I was a kid from Doylestown who played JV lacrosse my freshman year at Haverford. I was the only one from my town to drive the hour to the Main Line, and I was a smaller kid. I think because of that I always had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and had something to prove. But a lot of my motivation stems from the fact that I just genuinely enjoy the game of lacrosse. Athletes who play the game they love never feel like they’re going to work. I’m so in love with the sport and so passionate about it that I don’t notice the hard work. I’ve always viewed myself as an underdog trying to be the absolute best I can be. The other thing is I will always be willing to learn new things because I have so much respect and admiration for the guys I’m playing with. I don’t view myself in the same position that they are, and I don’t think I ever will.
I still look for mentors – if you interact with guys that are older and have experience in what you want to do, that will help shape what you want to look like when you get up to their level. Gravitate toward those who teach you how to do something but also do it with you – that’s a great sign of leadership. Most importantly, the number one thing my college coach taught me is gratitude.
What advice do you have for current students or fellow young alums?
When I was in high school, I always had the thought that senior year I’ll go all out. But for the younger guys, they should know your age does not define how great you can be, in the classroom or in sports. Don’t fall into the stigma that if you’re a freshman or sophomore, or even in middle school, you have to wait. I wish I hadn’t waited for “the perfect year” to go all out – it’s not that I didn’t give it my all, but I wish I had had more confidence to do things when I was younger. It’s all mental. I remember being a freshman at Haverford and looking up to seniors like they were Greek gods. Try to get an older mentor. Gavin McBride and Sam Rohr had a really big impact on me. Again, it’s all about the relationships you can build. I still look for mentors – if you interact with guys that are older and have experience in what you want to do, that will help shape what you want to look like when you get up to their level. Gravitate toward those who teach you how to do something but also do it with you – that’s a great sign of leadership. Most importantly, the number one thing my college coach taught me is gratitude. Understand that nothing good in life is done alone.