Sunday, December 9

Athletes prepare for careers after graduation


Although some will stay in sports, others move on to new pursuits

By Pauline Vu

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

After years of endless practices, weights, competitions and
travel, many of this year’s senior athletes are ready to
leave their playing days behind and move beyond the hills of
Westwood.

Still, some of them won’t be going too far ““ from
either their sport or UCLA.

Four weeks ago men’s basketball forward Sean Farnham
became an assistant coach at Pepperdine University over in
Malibu.

“I’m excited. I get to teach the game I love,”
he said.

Farnham got a tip from UCLA head coach Steve Lavin that
Pepperdine head coach Jan Van Breda Koff was looking for an
assistant. When he applied for the job, he was just one of 60 vying
for it. Soon 60 became 15 who made the three-week long interview
process ““ and then 15 became Farnham.

He will be the youngest Division I assistant coach in the
country.

“The team captain is older than me,” said Farnham,
22. “It’s kind of funny.”

He’s not worried, however, that his athletes will
disregard him because of his age.

“They respect me because of where I’m from,”
Farnham said. “It’s the name of UCLA.”

If anything, his youth will probably help him connect better
with the players. “They know I just went through what
they’re going through,” he said.

Farnham has already started work. A normal day consists of
waking up at 7 a.m., attending classes until 1 p.m., and then
driving out to Pepperdine and working until 7 p.m. Pepperdine will
have summer camps that Farnham is helping coordinate, and the first
one starts in about a week.

That’s just for the summer, though. When school starts,
Farnham’s key roles will be academic monitoring and working
on post play.

His contract extends through November 2001, and during that time
the Waves won’t play the Bruins at all.

But their schedule does include USC.

“I get another chance to beat the Trojans,” Farnham
said with a laugh.

Another senior who will take an instructing role in the world of
athletics is Heidi Moneymaker, who spent the past four years
getting in shape to be a standout gymnast for the Bruin team.

Just because the competing is over, though, there’s no
reason why Moneymaker should put all those workout skills to
waste.

So last September Moneymaker, nicknamed “Cash,” and
former teammate Dee Fischer set up The Center of Energy, their own
personal training business.

“We started working out together when we realized that we
both like to work out and it would be a good career choice,”
Moneymaker said.

Moneymaker and Fischer aren’t impersonal personal
trainers; they are enthusiastic and base their workout routines
around their clients’ wishes.

“We don’t go into a gym and keep them indoors on a
stairmaster. It depends on what they like doing,” Moneymaker
said.

That’s what makes The Center of Energy stand out from
other personal training businesses.

“We know how to get ourselves and other people in shape,
and we love doing it,” Moneymaker said. “When you love
doing it, you’re always going to do it better than if
you’re just doing it to get paid.”

So far, the duo have had to deal with all the challenges that
come with starting up a business, including setting up a Web site
(www.thecenterofenergy.com), getting professional pictures shot,
and publishing a brochure. Not only that, but Moneymaker and
Fischer are footing the bill themselves.

“Right now a lot of it is on our own shoulders,”
Moneymaker said. “We’re trying not to owe any money.
We’re both probably going to take on other part-time
jobs.”

Any entrepreneur can affirm that it’s not easy to start a
new business. But these two are determined to make The Center of
Energy a success.

“There’s a lot of stress on both of us right now,
and always there’s that thought in the back of your mind,
what if this doesn’t work?” Moneymaker said. “But
we’re going to make it happen. It’ll be a lot of work,
but I know it’ll be rewarding in the end.”

While Farnham and Moneymaker have found their niches in the
spirit of their sports, there are other seniors who will be leaving
athletics ““ and UCLA ““ far behind.

Women’s soccer goalkeeper Lindsay Culp will spend the next
five months traveling through Asia, starting in Vietnam and working
her way to India. But this travel, in a way, is just preparation
for another goal: the Peace Corps.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about my
whole life,” Culp said. “I’m not exactly sure
what I want to do, so I thought it would be a great
experience.”

At the beginning of winter quarter she completed the Peace Corps
application, which looks for both cultural and practical
experiences.

“I don’t have any,” Culp said, laughing, of
the latter. “That’s where I’m weak.”

So after traveling this summer, she will return to the U.S. to
work on the Peace Corps’ community service requirements. She
figures she’ll either be working with agriculture or with
kids, but Culp says she doesn’t have a preference either
way.

Then next spring or summer, she will hopefully be accepted to
the Peace Corps and shipped out into the world.

“It’s just a little more real world experience than
I’ve had. I feel like I’ve been sheltered my entire
life,” she said.

If that’s the case, Culp is definitely taking on a
challenge by joining the Peace Corps.

“It’s a scary thought, making a two-year commitment
outside of the States, but I adapt pretty well,” she said.
“I’m not afraid to get dirty, and I really want to see
how another culture lives, not just as a tourist, but as a
resident.”

In the years beyond the Peace Corps, the political science
student will consider looking for a job in the State Department.
Soccer is the furthest thing from her mind.

“I guess there’s a new women’s league
starting. I’m not really interested in it,” Culp said.
“I’ve done the soccer thing and I’ve had a great
time, but I’m ready to move on.”

Also ready to move on is Jess Strutzel, who during his four
years at UCLA developed into one of the best middle distance
runners in the country. Strutzel won’t give up track
immediately; he intends to keep racing for a few more years. But
after that he hopes to pursue his life-long love of acting.

“When I was a little kid, a friend of mine and I would get
out our camcorder and just make little stupid films,” he
said.

When Strutzel, a theater student, graduates, he will contact a
commercial agency and hire a theatrical agent.

“I know what kind of roles I don’t want. I’m
really not interested in the Dawson’s Creek type thing.
I’m so anti-the Backstreet Boys,” he said.

“I’m more interested in Othello, or the character of
Iago. I like those types of roles, with a little evil. Not
necessarily the villain, but I like the more complex
characters.”

Ask Strutzel about actors he admires and he’ll name a long
list of people he respects and why.

Al Pacino because of his film presence.

Vince Vaughn because he plays evil characters who are
mysterious.

Edward Norton because he can go into an audition and say, you
don’t have to see anyone else because this role is mine.

“It’s inspiring,” Strutzel said.

So far, Strutzel hasn’t had too many opportunities to act
(he’s been in theater classes since high school and was also
in a movie for a theater classes at UCLA), but he has found ways to
combine running and acting.

“When I’m running, I always try to make it exciting.
I would always sit at the back of the pack and I picked up at the
end. I guess that was my outlet. I’m a showboat,” he
said.

The 2000 senior class is an illustrious one, and many athletes
will still be going on to succeed in their sport. Some are going to
the pros, others to European leagues or up-and-coming U.S. leagues,
and still others to various National teams.

But as Farnham, Moneymaker, Culp and Strutzel show, there are
also plenty of seniors who are ready to stop seeking personal glory
on the playing fields.

Rather, they’re just going to see what life’s like
when the cheering ends.

With contributions by Christina Teller, Daily Bruin Senior
Staff.

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