The experiences and lessons learned as an athlete from the moment they shoot their first basket or throw their first pitch can help mold someone into the person they become as an adult.

Many athletes pick up a sport soon after they’re old enough to walk. Former Columbus North standout Audrey Lewis started gymnastics when she was 18 months old.

Lewis, like a number of other former Columbus athletes, has taken what she learned in her lifetime of sports and applied it to other parts of her life. Former North athletes Hunter McIntosh and Rebecca (Brougher) Davis, along with former Columbus East football player Andrew Wilson — all of whom graduated from high school in 2012 — have done the same.

Managing time

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Lewis, 23, started high school as a three-sport athlete in gymnastics, track and volleyball before dwindling it down to just volleyball her senior year. She then went on to play volleyball at Murray State, where she majored in agriculture with a concentration in animal science.

Lewis said the most important thing she has learned from playing sports is the importance of time management.

“Playing a sport and doing school is extremely time consuming,” Lewis said. “It’s a lot of work to try to get it all fit in and be successful in both of them.”

Another skill she has picked up by playing team sports is how to adapt and work well with people. Playing sports has taught her the concept of working together to achieve a common goal, which is an attribute that most employers would like to see in their employees.

“I think any employer at any job is going to require a lot of time management and managing people,” Lewis said. “… Being a college athlete is like a job, technically. You don’t get to pick your teammates, you don’t get to pick your coworkers, so that’s another big thing. You learn how to work cohesively with people, whether you’re best friends with them or not.”

Lewis put her time management skills to work in grade school when she found out she had a lot more time on her hands once she finished her volleyball eligibility and became a regular student. She is done with all of her course work for her Master’s degree in agriculture and will officially be done in December when she finishes her research-based thesis. She plans on moving to Chicago once she lands a job in the area.

Transition to sales

Wilson, 24, landed a job in Indianapolis as an associate photo-dynamic therapy sales representative for Pinnacle Biologics Inc. after graduating from Indiana University last year. He claims playing PAAL football for the Vikings as a fifth-grader up to being named the IU 2016 Walk-on Player of the Year has helped him get to where he is now.

“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the positive attitude and being coached,” Wilson said. “I’ve come all the way from Central Middle School to my freshman year on the Columbus East football team. I was fortunate enough to have great coaches and great mentors in my life to be able to reach my goals.”

Playing Big Ten football was a lifelong dream for Wilson. He decided to walk on at IU instead of going elsewhere and worked his way to earning a scholarship by his junior season.

Wilson said being named Walk-on Player of the Year just proved to him that his hard work and dedication was being recognized. He has channeled that same dedication to the professional world.

“I’m taking all the hard work and willingness to be coached right now in my career,” Wilson said. “… Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, follow your dreams. Always believe in yourself and whatever your goals are put your mind to it, and go out and do it.”

Becoming a coach

McIntosh, 23 also knows a little something about dedication. He played in about 100 baseball games every summer from 8 years old to the time he was 18.

Pitching at Alabama State is something McIntosh will cherish for a lifetime, and it’s not just because of the on-the-field action.

“Baseball teaches you how to form relationships,” McIntosh said. “It teaches you rules and how to follow a structure. As a little kid, you don’t really notice it, but it teaches you the correct morals and values.”

McIntosh had the opportunity pursue a pro career, but decided to take North baseball coach Ben McDaniel up on an offer to coach. McDaniel called McIntosh his junior year of college and told him he wanted him to coach at North if he didn’t go pro.

McIntosh passed on the chance to go pro and is now a health and gym teacher on top of being a North assistant baseball coach. He now is in a position to teach kids what baseball has taught him, and he loves it.

“I was shown what true love is from the game of baseball,” McIntosh said. “I know what it is to love something, whether that’s a person, thing or place. That’s been my first love. I’ve always loved it, and I never regretted it for my entire life. It showed me what to love and how to cherish what you love.”

Staying flexible

Davis fell in love with a new sport fairly quickly after deciding she wasn’t going to play basketball in college.

Double majoring in marketing and sales after being accepted into IU’s Kelley School of Business felt like a better life decision for Davis instead of pursuing basketball at another college. She played basketball all four years of high school and two years of soccer, but she never thought that rowing would be in her future. She was not interested initially, but she made up her mind 30 minutes into her athletic visit and joined the rowing team.

During her four years as a rower, Davis picked up skills that has helped her excel in the Cummins marketing and sales development program. Davis has to be able to adapt quickly on the job because she is always on the move every six months. The 23-year-old actually will be leaving in September to live in St. Louis for six months. Being flexible and dealing with things as they come is nothing new to Davis.

“In rowing, you never know what’s going to happen when you get out in the water,” Davis said. “It’s definitely helped me with mental toughness. There are definitely a lot of things (at the job) you have to learn at first and learn it quickly.”

Like Lewis, Davis also has said the use of teamwork from her team sports is something she will take with her no matter what job description she is filling. Another life treat they all said sports has given them are lifelong friendships.

“Being a college athlete was probably one of the best decisions I made, purely for the fact that I met so many new people” Lewis said. “I have friends from all over the world now, and that’s something I will always cherish.”

Where are they now?

Rebecca (Brougher) Davis

Age: 23

High School: Columbus North

College: Indiana University (rowing)

Post-graduation: Cummins marketing and sales development program

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Audrey Lewis

Age: 23

High school: Columbus North

College: Murray State (volleyball)

Post-graduation: Finishing grad school

x

Hunter McIntosh

Age: 23

High School: Columbus North

College: Alabama State (baseball)

Post-graduation: North health and PE teacher, assistant baseball coach

x

Andrew Wilson

Age: 24

High school: Columbus East

College: Indiana University (football)

Post-graduation: Associate photo-dynamic therapy sales representative for Pinnacle Biologics Inc.

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.