My name is Leslie Cikra. I am a proud University of Tennessee Alumni, and former Lady Volunteer Volleyball Player. I hope you will take a few moments to read this as I share my thoughts and strongly urge you to reconsider the decision to remove the Lady Volunteer logo from all Tennessee Women’s Athletics.
When the removal of the symbol was first brought to my attention, I was completely floored and disappointed in the University. Those feelings have not changed in the past few weeks, but have only magnified hearing any future inductees will not be welcomed into the Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame as many were before them. The loss of such an integral part of history in women’s athletics is so disheartening to see for me, and many of my fellow Lady Vol sisters.
This decision will change the future of Tennessee Athletics. It is not about us, the former Lady Vols. It is about the young recruits who will never be able to be a part of that proud sisterhood. It is about the young girls who get their tee-shirts signed after games and aspire to Lady Vols like their role models, and will never be able to live that dream. It is about the alumni, fans, and supporters who have such an important hand in the success of our women’s athletic department and are such an integral part of the Lady Vol Family.
Separate athletic departments allowed UT to stand out from the majority of schools across the country. When the men’s and the women’s departments combined, the symbol and Lady Vol name continued to distinguish us and unite us as one. The men’s and women’s teams always shared a level of camaraderie , but the Lady Vol symbol allowed us to stand alone. It embraced the power of a female in a previously male dominated world. It is a globally recognized symbol of tradition, pride, and respect. Why take something away that is already so powerful?
Pat Summitt and her championship basketball teams created a standard of excellence at the University of Tennessee that only few other schools can rival. She was instrumental in taking women’s athletics, as a whole, further than before. Removing this symbol is not only a dishonor to Coach Summitt, but also a dishonor to every Lady Volunteer who earned a championship, and to every Lady Vol who put their own blood, sweat and tears into their tenures to continue this legacy. The Lady Vol symbol provides a source of inspiration and pride for all who had the honor of representing Tennessee in orange and white. Every Lady Vol is an important piece to this legacy. We will always be Lady Vols for life.
Please continue to honor each and every Lady Volunteer, and reverse the decision to remove the Lady Vol symbol from the future of Tennessee Athletics.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Lady Vol Volleyball 2009-2012 – 2011 SEC Champions – Lady Volunteer for Life
If you would like to help make a difference in bringing back our Lady Vols, I urge you to please electronically sign the petition below. Also, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for media requests. GO LADY VOLS! #BRINGBACKTHELADYVOLS
Photos: credit to UTSports.com and Alisha Massengill