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News Profiles // August 2, 2019

The Start of Every Memory

Huma Liptak ’18

Huma Liptak ’18If you asked most people to describe a locker room, they would probably give you a straightforward answer about a place to change clothes and shower. They might say something about getting ready or storing their stuff. But if you ask any of the Central College women’s soccer players or any other student-athlete at Central, they’re going to tell you something very different.

For us, our locker room is a place where we might share our dreams, might pray for a victory and it’s the place we might cry after a hard loss. For the Central women’s soccer team and for me, the locker room was a place where we sang “Man in the Mirror” and the place where we bonded over wins and losses and all things in between. It’s a place where I put on my cleats and it’s the place where I made friends over a teammate braiding my hair. It’s the place I laughed over presents from my teammates and the place we cried when our teammate got hurt. The locker room might just be an unimportant room in a building to most people, but to the student-athletes of Central, the locker room is the start of every memory.

From the day of my recruitment to my final game, the locker room was a place I processed so much of my Central experience. It’s the place where I reflected the lessons learned on the pitch, but more important in the way those lessons applied to the rest of my life. A gift of a locker room is not about a place to change clothes and store cleats, it is a gift for the memories future generations of Central student-athletes will create together in a space that is theirs.

Huma Liptak, a 2018 Central graduate, is a former women’s soccer player for the Dutch. Originally from Fairfield, Iowa, Liptak majored in exercise science. She now lives in Des Moines and is in her first year of medical school at Des Moines University.

News Profiles // August 2, 2019

Inside the Locker Room

Joe Flaherty ’14

Joe Flaherty ’14If you weren’t involved in college athletics, the idea of a locker room probably doesn’t mean much to you. You probably just get a bit queasy imagining what it smells like and don’t give it a second thought. You’d be very correct about the smell, but you also clearly don’t understand the significant role the locker room plays in the bonding of a team.

It can certainly be intimidating at first to walk into a room full of 130 college football players as an 18-year old freshman. Especially when they are remarkably larger and more athletic-looking than your high school teammates. Our old locker room was much smaller than the state-of-the-art space the team has now, so we spent a lot of time in close quarters with each other. Some of the most significant relationships I developed were with the guys who had lockers right next to mine. I can still walk into the old locker room and pick out my locker and tell you who was right next to me.

Practices required all our focus and much of our energy, but time spent in the locker room is when we were all able to let our guard down. Whether it was guys dancing (who shouldn’t have been dancing) on Techno Tuesdays or guys singing (who shouldn’t have been singing) on Country Fridays, the personality of our team really shone in the time we spent in our sacred space. While I’ll always remember the moments on the field with big wins over Coe and Wartburg, I’ll always remember the locker room as well.

Joe Flaherty is the assistant sports information director at Central. He graduated in 2014 from Central with a degree in social science. Originally from Burlington, Iowa, Flaherty played four years of football and two years of baseball for the Dutch. He also was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Ministries.