Firefighting and water polo or cardiology and softball have little in common at first glance. But for these former Claremont Colleges student-athletes, their professional lives frequently borrow many lessons learned during their time on a team.
How a fire captain found his spark in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Quang Leba’s ’97 CM athlete mentality in the CMS water polo and track teams prepared him for his job today as Fire Captain for the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District.
But when he graduated in 1997, he didn’t know it yet.
Upon graduating from college, Leba worked for Kaiser Permanente, a California-based healthcare company, for eight years, moving into three departments. It was then that he volunteered with a local volunteer fire department.
“Just to help the community, I thought I would try something new. And I fell in love with it, ”he said.
At 28, Leba had the idea of becoming a firefighter and he was hired as a professional firefighter two years later.
“When they asked me why I wanted to be a firefighter during my interview, I told them that at Claremont McKenna College I had never worked, studied, laughed and played as hard as in a team environment.” , did he declare. “I thought the firefighters would be able to replicate this experience, and that’s why I was sitting in front of the sign, looking for a job as a firefighter.”
Leba’s job in the fire department is extremely physically demanding, as are the sports he played at the CMC. Since his days are different every day, he has to adjust to his changing schedule, which he said was unique in his time as a college athlete.
“Playing sports and going to college reinforced what I enjoyed most – working in a team environment, making a positive difference, doing things I never thought I could do and working hard. and [see] your efforts are paying off, ”said Leba.
Although a fire team and a water polo or athletics team may have completely different daily schedules, Leba said there was little fundamental difference: “You have to be ready with a positive attitude and a smile and [be] over there next to your brothers and sisters.
Heart for softball Pomona-Pitzer keeps cardiologist clear-headed
Ali Corley PO ’11 was a catcher for four years on the PP softball team, a team she also managed for two years. Currently a cardiology scholar at Duke University, she said her years as a sagehen were inextricably linked with her time in medicine.
As an athlete and captain, Corley said his “biggest lesson” was learning to unite an infinitely different group of people around a “common goal”.
“On a softball field, you have a mix of different people… and everyone has one goal: to win a game. It plays well. It’s hitting the ball, ”Corley said. “Trying to figure out how to work well together, trying to figure out what motivates each individual player … is almost like a psychology of teamwork.”
Now her time in the field still resonates with her life in the health field.
“Things like being a good team worker are incredibly important in all aspects of life, and medicine is no exception,” said Corley. “You also work with a diverse set of team members with different skills and backgrounds, and the end goal is patient care. When you log into the hospital, your goal should be… to provide the best possible patient care. It is a team effort.
And, Corley said, the pressure of batting is what gives her the ability to calm her mind and keep a procedure like cardiac catheterization from getting too stressful.
“There are times when I think my hands would shake, and I’m able to harden them and do what I need to do to take care of a patient,” she said. “Or when there is chaos in a patient’s room… having the ability to speak loudly, requisition the room and think about what needs to happen in order for the patient to be better – I wonder if all of these things would be more difficult without having been an athlete. “
Today Corley and Leba remain fit in other ways after graduating from their respective teams. Corley plays for his hospital ward’s slow pitch team, where they just played their playoff games last week, and Leba is mountain biking while supporting his three active daughters, all of whom are footballers.
Twenty-three years after graduating, Leba still keeps the lessons of her CMS days cool.
“There is always a learning opportunity, no matter the size of the task. “