The Magazine of the University of La Verne

Online Edition

Paul Alvarez, director of La Verne's Athletic Training Program, urges students to get international experience, just as he did as an assistant athletic trainer for Team USA at the World University Games in China.

Paul Alvarez, director of La Verne's Athletic Training Program, urges students to get international experience, just as he did as an assistant athletic trainer for Team USA at the World University Games in China.

A World of Experience

La Verne professor Paul Alvarez can offer his students real-world perspective after serving as an assistant athletic trainer for Team USA at the World University Games.

  • September 19, 2011

Paul Alvarez could have taken a conventional summer vacation, rode a mule down into the Grand Canyon, a train across Europe, a Jet-Ski around Maui.

Instead, he left his golf clubs at home, packed his athletic trainer’s kit, and headed to Shenzhen, China, to serve as one of a select few athletic trainers to take care of American athletes at the World University Games in August.

For Alvarez, now in his 25th year as a professor and head of the University of La Verne’s award-winning athletic trainer’s program, the China trip was quite a feather in his cap. From a personal standpoint, it was further validation of his successful ascent through the ranks of athletic training and a reflection of his devotion to his profession.

From a professional standpoint, it means Alvarez’s Sports Science students have one more reason to listen closely in class.

La Verne professor Paul Alvarez, fourth from right, was one of a select few athletic trainers to travel to Shenzhen, China, to assist the United States team at the World University Games.

“The reason I was on the team is that I still practice, and there are a lot of professors who don’t,” Alvarez said. “They didn’t need an academic on the team; they needed someone who could tape and take care of the athletes. I think that my being involved — just like the work outside of class that George Keeler and Mike Laponis do in Communications, that Reed Gratz does with music, that Jerome Garcia does with biology — all of these are things that give our students an edge.”

Alvarez’s ability to walk the walk is a product of his own Olympic dreams.

“I vaguely remember Munich, and only because of the terrorists and all of the media coverage,” said Alvarez, 50. “But by the time the Montreal games came around, I was a mediocre high school runner who thought, ‘Maybe some day…’ But time goes by, and reality strikes, and I realized I wasn’t even the best guy on my high school team.

“Then, when I started as an athletic trainer, I saw that it was a process and it’s possible to move up to the next level, and the next level.”

While being part of the U.S. contingent at such a prestigious event, witnessing the spectacle of ceremony and athletic performance at the highest level was thrilling, Alvarez said he was most impressed with the basic human condition.

“I tell our students that international exposure is critical,” Alvarez said. “You get down to the ground level and you’re able to strip away the politics. The one caution we were given was don’t talk politics. We found some great human beings there. One of our attachés was a woman who had a 3-year-old daughter at home. She’s there 10, 12 hours a day, helping with the Games. But she says, ‘No, this is important.’ If anyone gets the chance to be involved in an international event like this, they should take advantage of it.”

Amid the importance of his work and contribution to the U.S. team, Alvarez found time to stop and take it all in.

“There’s definitely a wow factor,” he said. “I was a little awestruck, you know, ‘What am I doing here?’ I caught myself walking around like an idiot saying, ‘Wow, there’s the Russian athletes. There are the Germans. I actually teared up a bit at one point, there was so much emotion. I even got a note from my academic advisor at Sacramento State, saying, ‘We’re so proud of you.’ Down the road, I hope my students will call me and say, ‘I came out of La Verne and I ended up doing something great.’

While he’s still a little in awe of his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Alvarez says it’s one open to any of his students as well.

“The strongest thing about our athletic training program is something our president and our provost have both said: Theoretical knowledge only takes you so far. Practical knowledge only takes you so far,” Alvarez said. “But if you do the work, then you put yourself in position to succeed. Our soccer coach, Cres Gonzalez, has a T-shirt that says, ‘Luck Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.’

“When you get that opportunity, it comes down to, ‘What have you done? What have you lived through? Can you handle it? I always have a story to tell students. Sometimes those are good teaching moments.”

Check out Paul Alvarez’s Universiade blog from his fortnight in Shenzhen, China

 

 

Related posts:

  1. HMO, Team USA
  2. Experience of a Lifetime (Again)
  3. Heart and Sole
  4. Eight Inducted into Hall of Fame
  5. Paul Alvarez’s Universiade blog

Comments

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment!

Leave A Comment

SUSTAINABILITY

UNIVERSITY-OF-LA-VERNE

The University of La Verne has become the second seat of higher education in California to join the Billion Dollar Green Challenge — for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

group 02

Brent Baier, recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the University of La Verne football team, got his lengthly locks buzzed at Roots Salon by Amanda Clarke (owner), Heather Repp and Aggie Paronelli, as part of a charity event to donate hair to an organization that makes hair prostheses for children.

Recent Posts

Alumni, Hear Our Call

Phonathon takes place each semester and provides an opportunity for La Verne students to speak with alumni about the latest highlights around campus.

Campus West Grand Opening

Bathed in the dusky haze of the afternoon sun, the smell of freshly mowed grass hovering as an undeniable harbinger of spring, the University of La Verne baseball and softball teams on April 8 don...

Scholarship Gala '14

An evening of tremendous generosity and heart-felt gratitude took place at the University of La Verne’s 2014 Scholarship Gala on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Hosted at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference...

Fellowship of the Rink

La Verne, Ontario Reign 5-year Partnership Surpasses $112,000 Raised for Student Scholarships

Winter Commencement 2014

The University of La Verne's 2014 Winter Commencement on Feb. 1 consisted of a trio of ceremonies, each featuring a notable keynote speaker – Steve Carlston, NBC4 Los Angeles (KNBC) President and ...

Hollywood Heartache

A lifelong love affair with the magic of the silver screen has led Scott Essman to La Verne, where he provides his students with expert insight about filmmaking.

SEND US YOUR OWN LEO LINES!