Hope Athletics Podcast: Dave Brandt, Men’s Soccer

Head coach Dave Brandt points his right hand while instructing his team during practice at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
Hope College men’s soccer coach Dave Brandt, left, talks with his team during practice at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.

Head coach Dave Brandt offers an update on his Hope College men’s soccer team in the latest edition of the Hope College Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.

Brandt is in his third year leading the Flying Dutchmen. He guided Hope to a 14-6-1 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance last season.

The Flying Dutchmen are busy training this fall and determined to make the most of the time they have together. Their soccer games are postponed until the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandt talks about his team’s potential and welcoming a former player to the coaching staff during the podcast hosted by sports information director Alan Babbitt.

He also chats about hiking and biking in West Michigan’s “amazing” outdoors and his beloved dog, Gracie.

Baseball with the Traverse City Pit Spitters a Hit for Evan Maday

Evan Maday of Hope College stands in the batter's box during a Traverse City Pit Spitters game this summer.
Evan Maday hit .315 for the Traverse City Pit Spitters in 21 Northwood League games this summer.

This summer, Hope College center fielder Evan Maday took a mighty swing at an activity that’s normal for him amid times that are anything but. He got to play competitive baseball. And at a high level, too.

The senior for the Flying Dutchmen suited up for the Traverse City Pit Spitters of the Northwoods League in the COVID-19 summer of 2020. It’s a collegiate summer baseball league composed of teams with roster spots filled by some of the top college amateur players in the country. 

Beginning in July, the Pit Spitters home field — Turtle Creek Stadium — served as a host for three Northwoods League teams as the league’s format was adjusted for the COVID-19 pandemic. Maday and the Pit Spitters didn’t travel to other Northwoods teams’ ballparks (like in Kalamazoo or Battle Creek, Wisconsin or Minnesota) but instead only played against the two other teams — Great Lakes Resorters and Northern Michigan Dune Bears — stationed in Traverse City.

Maday hit .315 over 21 games while starting in right field. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native (East Kentwood HS) finished with 23 hits, including eight multi-hit games. He also collected 13 runs batted in and scored 13 runs.

The Pit Spitters begin the Northwood League playoffs on Thursday, September 3, but Maday will be cheering them on from the Hope College campus. He left the team when classes began here last month. He is an engineering major with a concentration on civil engineering.

Maday chatted with Hope College sports information director Alan Babbitt this week about his experience.

Alan Babbitt: How did it come about for you to play with the Pit Spitters this summer?

Evan Maday: I played with them about half the season last year. I had already talked to Coach (Josh) Rebandt, who is the head coach up there, and signed my contract to play for the full season in the fall of last year. I knew even before we started practice for school last year that I was going to be playing this summer for the Pit Spitters.

AB: The Northwoods League is a pretty good level of summer baseball. Talk about what the baseball is like and how that’s helped your game.

EM: It’s a pretty elite league when it comes to summer leagues around the country. The Cape Cod and Northwoods Leagues are right up there with each other. We had a bunch of guys on our team bench from the Power 5, (NCAA) Division I guys. Just great, great baseball players all around me. It really helped my game that I was able to pick up some of the things that they do at their programs that I can implement into my game at Hope, then even bring back here to help our program a little bit. Although we didn’t get to travel around like we usually do, the competition was incredible. It’s a lot of fun playing at a high level with all those types of guys.

Evan Maday stands on first base after reaching safely during a Northwoods League baseball game.
With the Traverse City Pit Spitters, Evan Maday of Hope College played baseball against the Great Lakes Resorters and Northern Michigan Dune Bears this summer.

AB: How would you assess how you played, especially with a prominent role this year?

EM: I’m happy with how the season turned out.  Even though I would have liked the (batting) average a little better, I really felt that I got better this summer and worked on a few parts of my game that I’d been hoping to work on during the spring season (which was canceled at Hope College). I couldn’t have asked for better experience, and I had a great time. I am content with the way I played.

AB: You probably got an early feel for what this semester at Hope was going to be like because you were following safety protocols with the Pit Spitters. So, what was that experience like? Where did you live in Traverse City, how were you staying safe while you were playing every day?

EM: Our team’s players stayed with host families. Those were set in place before everything happened (with COVID-19). I stayed with my aunt and uncle, Joe and Marie Ward; that was great. I worked as a Shipt shopper to earn some spending money. The Pit Spitters organization in general did a great job with regulating the whole COVID-19 situation. We got tested before our first game and played three games, then tests came back and there were eight positive tests on the other two teams up there. We canceled for two weeks then tested again, and we ended up playing again.

They did a great job keeping us socially distanced, keeping masks on at all times. With fans, there could only be 500 in the stadium (which can hold 4,660 fans). They did a great job with regulating all the things they had to in order so we could keep playing. It’s kind of a tough situation to navigate, but I think they really set a good standard on how to do it.

AB: I know it was just a gut-wrenching spring to have the season wiped out by the pandemic. What did it mean to you just to be able to play this summer?

EM: This spring season getting canceled really hurt. It hurt all of us, every spring sport athlete at Hope. It was a really tough time for a lot of people, including me. You just want to go out there and play. That I was going to have an opportunity to do that (with the Pit Spitters) was, for a while, was the only thing I could keep my mind on. I felt super blessed just having the opportunity to go and play. Baseball is what I love to do.

AB: How do you hope your summer with the Pit Spitters propels you into this coming season at Hope?

EM: I’m hoping that I can continue to work on those things that I started working on this summer. I want to get to the best spot I can be in to help Hope win this spring once we hopefully start playing again.

Hope Athletics Podcast: Becky Schmidt, Volleyball

Head coach Becky Schmidt is leading her Hope College volleyball team during unprecedented times right now.

In the inaugural Hope College Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, the Flying Dutch’s leader chats with sports information director Alan Babbitt after her team’s first week of practice outdoors.

With fall competition postponed until the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hope is training on the sand courts at the City of Holland’s Matt Urban Park three days a week. One hour at a time, they practice in groups of eight.

During the Orange and Blue Podcast, Schmidt also discusses her coaching staff, including new full-time assistant coach Kyleigh Block, their inspirations for safe beach volleyball drills, and how they are embracing the national conversation regarding social injustice as part of their team covenant of relentless pursuit of community, faithful love and a championship mindset in order to inspire hope.

“We believe that, at no other time we can think of, does inspiring hope need to happen more,” Schmidt says.

Momentum

This is part of a series titled, Hope Speaks for Social Justice, written by former Hope student-athletes of color. Their words seek to educate and activate the Hope community in the nation’s quest to end racial injustice.

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In physics, it is the motion of a moving body quantified by its mass and velocity.

In sports, it is a game-changing play that gets the crowd, going in one team’s favor. 

On my visit to Hope College as a recruit, when I saw the support of 2500+ people packed in DeVos Fieldhouse and heard them cheer on the men’s basketball team, it was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to play for Hope. To have that momentum behind us at each home game.

The funny thing about momentum is that it can be gone in a second. One mishap or diversion and the crowd is no longer screaming with joy, but groaning.

At the time of this writing, it has been:

151 days since Ahmaud Arbery was murdered.

132 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered.

59 days since George Floyd was murdered.

41 days since Rayshard Brooks was murdered.

Social media was full of people running 2.23 miles to #runwithmaud, or posting black squares on their timelines for #blackouttuesday. People protested in Grand Rapids for a few weekends and are still protesting around the country to show that Black Lives Matter.

But where has that momentum gone? Do Black Lives not Matter anymore four months from the event that started this? Do we need to have another video of one of us killed for it to be popular again to support us?

When I arrived at work after those first few weeks of protesting, all I heard about was the rioting that was taking place. There was no talk of the centuries of systematic racism that has been perpetrated against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). There was no talk of the violations of freedoms and justices causing us to be unheard. The momentum switched to the result, not the cause of the issue.

In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. said,

 “a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?”

Why is it that people are more bothered by the burning of buildings and not the lives being taken? Why is this being made a political issue rather than the human rights issue it truly is? Is it that white people are more concerned about the status quo rather than justice and equality?

We are still fighting the same fight in 2020 to have equity at the table. I didn’t have one Black professor en route to get my engineering degree. I had no coaches of color. I have only been asked to help recruit Black players. If we are serious about keeping the momentum towards positive change, that doesn’t mean we hire Black coaches/professors because it is the popular thing to do. It means hiring those diverse candidates because there are plenty who are qualified and will be able to bring a different perspective, experiences and knowledge to the table. 

What can everyone do to keep this momentum going?

Hear BIPOC experiences and acknowledge them.

Own up to the fact that white privilege is real and use it to bring up BIPOC.

Push for systematic changes more than painting a street and taking down statues.

Educate yourself and others on the systematic racism of our country and speak up when you see it.

Do whatever you can to keep the momentum going so that Black Lives DO Matter.

Author Brock Benson (40) is a 2016 Hope College graduate who received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, with a minor in mathematics, while playing basketball for the Flying Dutchmen. Benson worked for Gentex Corp in Zeeland, Michigan, for the past four years in its microelectronics and prototype areas. Brock and his wife Klare (Northuis) Benson ‘16 recently relocated to the Sacramento, California, area.

Brock Benson ’16 dunks versus Alma

Use Your Peripheral Vision

This is part of a series titled, Hope Speaks for Social Justice, written by former Hope student-athletes of color. Their words seek to educate and activate the Hope community in the nation’s quest to end racial injustice.

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Some of my most vivid memories as a Hope College women’s basketball player was time spent in practice dedicated to defense. Arguably our team’s best asset was to move in unison and prevent opponents’ from executing their game plan.

Our mantra was consistent:

“Use your peripheral vision; Keep your head on a swivel; Don’t get caught sleeping; and, Make sure you help the helper.”

These commands are repeated by all my coaches, at every practice, over and over, until it is brainwashed in each player’s mind. We were to move on instinct, as one.

This winning approach and mantra was not just embedded in my mind on the basketball court, however. It also became a devastating reality as a Black student-athlete when:

  • Using my peripheral vision meant noticing the college’s “brand” as a safe haven for racial/ethnic-superiority sentiment; or in other words, “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”
  • Keeping my head on a swivel meant acknowledging the older white men from the community debating Obama’s country of origin while working my shift at the Dow Center.
  • Falling asleep in my Cultural Heritage class was done so I didn’t have to watch an old play featuring actors in blackface.
  • Realizing that the few African Americans on the faculty and staff, who wanted to help, could feel just as marginalized as Black students.

In America, it is impossible to not be impacted or influenced by white supremacy. It is woven into the fabric of our systems and has continued to devastate Black communities. Learning our history as a political science major, while simultaneously experiencing racism, is almost debilitating for a young woman who wants to avoid being labeled “angry.” James Baldwin, a world-renowned novelist, said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” I couldn’t agree more.

Now in the year 2020, I truly believe that our college community can refocus, tie up our laces and work a new mantra into our daily practice.

  • Use our peripheral vision – Seek out what is easy to miss, what makes us uncomfortable, and who we do not agree with.
  • Keep our head on a swivel – Look at all sides of a situation before jumping to judgement or defense.
  • Don’t get caught sleeping – Change doesn’t have a timeline or speed limit. Let’s make it happen now since it is a priority.
  • Make sure we help the helpers – When a person of color is helping us, our team and organization achieve equitable success. Make sure they are supported and well compensated.

I have the utmost faith in humankind that if we all practice a mantra such as this, over and over, we can reprogram what has been brainwashed in all of us. Imagine how great of a community we could be if we protect and empower all Black people on instinct and work as one!

Living this mantra could be Hope College’s best asset.

Author Kamara Sudberry is a 2015 graduate of Hope College who majored in business management and political science and played basketball for the Flying Dutch. After graduation, Sudberry served as an AmeriCorps Member in Grand Rapids and now works for the Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health System within the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center of Expertise.    

Kamara Sudberry ’15 in action versus Calvin in 2015.

My Hope for a Better Future

This is part of a series titled, Hope Speaks for Social Justice, written by former Hope student-athletes of color. Their words seek to educate and activate the Hope community in the nation’s quest to end racial injustice.

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I want to start by briefly sharing my experience as a former student-athlete and current part-time staff member at Hope College. Honestly, at first, I have had the feeling of being out of place as I’m sure many people of color have in a town and at school that is predominately white. When you rarely see others who look like you, it’s understandable to feel and be conspicuous and uneasy. However, my feelings of displacement slowly diminished after a year of playing football. When I returned to coach, interacting with players, faculty, staff, and other students also made my transition back onto campus easier after the first year.

The current state of what is happening in our country is a reflection of what has been happening inside of my own head for years. When you rarely see others who look like you, it’s understandable to feel and be conspicuous and uneasy. Being a person of color in environments with mostly white people can make you doubt yourself, become numb and ignore social injustices, and conform to the fact that our country was built off of “white superiority” by default. 

Being a black man in this country makes you angry to see innocent people getting killed, profiled, or targeted based on their skin color. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. The current president got elected for a reason. The protests are happening for a reason. I am confused, sad, and angry about the things that have happened in our country over the weeks, months, and years concerning racial injustice. But it’s happened for a reason. I do believe God allowed them all to happen in order to bring forth a positive change on how the human race interacts with one another in the world. 

I see more people are starting to see “the why” behind certain behaviors like kneeling during the anthem and understanding that racial injustice is still a problem that exists! I observe more white people seeking education and understanding that they are privileged no matter where they stand because they are white. Education and action is needed in the white community to tackle this issue. Yes, there are other issues, but this is an urgent issue that has been a problem for centuries.

My advice to student-athletes who are white is to understand that by not doing anything or saying anything during this time, or in the future, makes you part of the problem. Many of the racial injustices that happen and that are currently in place are subtle, which can be barriers in admitting that there is a problem in the first place. Be proactive about educating yourself on history, be intentional about your daily interactions, and be a part of the SOLUTION to end racial injustices. 

My advice to students of color is to acknowledge that it is exhausting being a part of social injustice. However, to make the world a better place, you must be willing to be first. Be the first to stand up when someone says something they should not, be the first to educate those in your community who need to understand, or, be the first at whatever to be a part of the SOLUTION. 

Collectively as a country we must find solutions to tackle social injustices and it starts in each individual community. Reform in education, health care, housing and job opportunities will be a part of the solution to end racial injustices. It will be a long process, but it will be worth it for a better future. 

Author Shawn Jackson ‘14 is the running backs coach for and an alumnus of Hope College football. He is also the owner of a sports training business named Jackson Elite Training located in Holland, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and two children. 

Shawn Jackson ’14 in action versus Wisconsin Lutheran in 2013.

Silence is Compliance

This is the first in a series titled, Hope Speaks for Social Justice, written by former Hope student-athletes of color. Their words seek to educate and activate the Hope community in the nation’s quest to end racial injustice.

Lately, if you’ve watched the news, read articles, seen social media, or even experienced social unrest, there’s a great chance you saw, read, or heard the words, “Silence is Compliance.”

* * *

May 30th, I’m bustling down Fulton Avenue in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with two friends. I see red and blue lights swirling in the intersection of Fulton and Division, cars backed up for what looked like a mile each way, and face-masked people filling every remaining crevice of the streets, sidewalks, and landscaping. An incredibly complex sight in the midst of a global pandemic. 

By the time I was able to take all of this in, I found my feet settle in a sea of people, my hands gripping the edges of my poster board, and my arms shooting up to display just two of my many declarations for people who look like me: “No Justice, No Peace” on the front and “This is an American Problem” on the back. 

* * *

When Christians, elected leaders, law enforcers, health-care workers, colleagues, strangers, and even neighbors, choose to look at Black skin as a threat or of less importance, that eliminates the opportunity for a just society for Black people, further eliminating true peace for Black people. But that side of my sign (No Justice, No Peace), I’m not writing about that. 

“This is an American Problem.” So why polarize the topic by making it political?

Almost every family has that rule for get-togethers, be it cookouts or just dinner: don’t bring up politics. Why? Because 1) politics are polarizing, and 2) polarizing conversations are uncomfortable, especially when 3) the conversation is not warranted. My friends, human rights and justice 1) should never be polarizing topics, and though 2) calling out systemic oppression and racism can be uncomfortable, 3) it is beyond warranted. This is not the time – there is never a time – to intentionally not address injustice, oppression, and racism to appease another’s discomfort. Silence is compliance.

Specifically, to my privileged friends and allies, you, too, have the ability to speak truth to those in your circles and influence a change of heart, mind, and action. But it takes a commitment to speak up and out. Speaking up when you witness classmates making discriminatory comments about their Black professor, and speaking out when you see an opportunity to inform and humanize. Words cannot express the disappointment I feel when friends and allies are supportive of racial justice one-on-one, but are nowhere to be heard from when it matters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed the same sentiment when he said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” 

The sooner we recognize that this is an American Problem, the sooner we reach the common goal of liberty and justice and peace for ALL. I hope you join me in using your voice for progress and your actions for change. 

Author Angelique Gaddy is a 2017 graduate of Hope who majored in business management and communication and played women’s basketball for the Flying Dutch. After Hope, Gaddy earned a master’s degree in sport management at Western Michigan University and worked in athletics compliance at Grand Valley State University. She recently accepted a position with Hope as a regional admissions representative in Chicago. 

Angelique Gaddy in action in the NCAA Tournament in 2017

A Message from AD Tim Schoonveld

Dear Hope College Student-Athlete,

Portrait of Tim Schoonveld
Athletic Director Tim Schoonveld

Just like many of you, I have watched with sadness and anger the events of the last couple of weeks in the United States.  As a white man in a position of power, I fully realize that I have been privileged beyond that of so many. I also realize that with this reality comes responsibility to steward my privilege for the good of others and this world. The other day, I saw a tweet from a former Hope College student-athlete who said:

“It’s exhausting as hell being black. I’m speaking to my white friends in real life and on twitter – I don’t think you really understand just how exhausting it really is to see a black man get unnecessarily killed on video a day after a white woman uses her whiteness to call the police….”

How is it that we live in a world where anyone should feel like that?! I am ashamed at how I may have, in any way, contributed to people feeling like this, and today I am reaching out to challenge us ALL to be better, to do better, and to stand up to racism and injustice. While I write this, I do not presume to have any idea of what our African American student-athletes and student-athletes of color (AHANA) are going through or what they truly need. But I am committing to seeing and listening to them with humility. To see their joys and their struggles. To see what they need from me and others. To listen to what I can do in my position to help end racism and injustice in our community and beyond. And I am committing to love. To love my “neighbor as I love myself and my family.” To love with actions and not with only my words.  

To our African American and AHANA student-athletes, I am sorry that it has taken tragedy and injustice and protests for me to write this letter, and I promise that I will do better personally and in my role at Hope College. To those of us who have been privileged to be largely free from racism and injustice in our lives, I am challenging you to see those who are dealing with injustice, to listen to those who are victims of subtle and overt racism, and to demonstrate your love for them by standing up for truth and what is right. We can be better. We will be better. We must be better. 

As people of Hope, we are called to be a light, and I am committing to work with campus leadership and our student-athletes of color to find tangible solutions on our campus.  As of today, I am committing to the following in moving forward:

  1. In an effort to see and listen, we will publish blog posts written by our alumni student-athletes of color who will share their personal thoughts on what is going on in our country, along with some specific advice to you, our present student-athletes.
  2. Our athletic staff will be engaging in on-going cultural awareness education (beginning in Aug. 2020) so that we can grow in our development in providing a transformational experience for ALL student-athletes. We will begin this under the guidance of Dr. Sonja Trent Brown, Chief Officer for Culture and Inclusion at Hope College.  
  3. Effective this fall, we will be creating a Student-Athletes of Color Advisory Committee.  While we do not have all the details on who will be on this committee, we anticipate leadership will come from present student-athletes of color, some Hope staff and possibly some alumni student-athletes of color. We will spend the summer listening and taking feedback on how to structure this in the most effective way.
  4. Hope Athletics will continue to improve our hiring process to be more inclusive in both how and where we recruit qualified candidates.
  5. I want to hear from any of you who want to share. I promise to listen, ask questions, and do my best to respond in appropriate ways to your needs.  Please feel free to email me your thoughts at schoonveld@hope.edu.

I know that we will not be perfect and have much to learn. As it says in 1 John 3:18, “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” It is time for Hope College Athletics to show our beliefs with actions and truth. I look forward to partnering with each of you to stand up to racism and injustice. And I am excited to see you all this fall. Keep bringing a light and standing up for what is right!

With deep sincerity,

Tim “Schoonie” Schoonveld

Get Your Hope Athletics Creativity On!

Looking for fun activities to do with your family? Need a stress reliever and something to do during a study break? Look no further! Hope Athletics has created a series of Coloring Challenges to stay STRONG and show your TRUE Hope spirit! Download and print Dutch the Mascot, color him and re-share on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages! Make sure to tag @HopeAthletics and use #KeepingHope!