SAAC Spotlight: NNU's Michael Gordon
NNU's Michael Gordon will be running in the GNAC Championships this weekend in Monmouth, Ore.
NNU's Michael Gordon will be running in the GNAC Championships this weekend in Monmouth, Ore.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Michael Gordon
Northwest Nazarene
Senior * Track & Field

Hometown: Nampa, ID
College: Northwest Nazarene University
College major: Pre-physical Therapy
Current sport: Cross Country and Track
Year in school: Senior
Extracurricular activities: Basketball and running

Why did you choose to attend Northwest Nazarene? I chose to attend NNU because I wanted to stay close to home and pursue my love for running.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why? My favorite class that I have taken at NNU is probably Human Anatomy because I love everything about the human body and it's something that I enjoy learning about. Memorizing bones and body parts is a huge part of my major and I get a lot of joy out of it.

Who is your favorite professor you've had in college and what did you enjoy about learning from him or her? My favorite professor at NNU would be Dr. Anstine. He is probably the most interesting person I have ever met - from his story to his hilarious personality. He was on top of the world, about to become CEO of one of the biggest drug companies in America, and he gave it up to follow God and come to Idaho. He truly is inspiring and he is so open to students. He is more than willing to do anything to contribute to a student’s future.

How many years have you been involved in SAAC? Two.

What was the reason you chose to get involved in SAAC? Getting involved in SAAC was an impulsive decision because I didn't know much about it. I didn't even know what SAAC stood for. When I got involved, I found I enjoyed the atmosphere and the programs that we were involved in (i.e., Make a Wish). SAAC was a really cool way to become more involved with the student-athletes at my school and get together as one.

What was your most memorable SAAC activity? My most memorable SAAC activity was the hike that we took when we went to Alaska for the GNAC SAAC retreat. It was a great experience and I loved getting to know Kevin [Rooke] from University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a super cool dude and I feel like we really bonded in Alaska. That is really what SAAC strives toward as well, which is getting athletes together, bonding and having them work as one to accomplish goals whether its helping out your school or raising money for fundraisers. Alaska was by far the most memorable trip I have had with SAAC and possibly the most memorable thing I remember in college.

If you could change one NCAA rule, what would it be? If I could change one NCAA rule it would be to take away coach/athlete restrictions once an athlete has started attending a university. I love my coach and we have a very good relationship, but until I graduate it's hard for us to do things together and with our wives. If we go out, we have to be careful who pays for what and because we have to make sure that we aren't breaking any NCAA regulations.

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics? The most important thing that I have learned from balancing athletics and academics is that life is not handed to you in Division II. You have to work hard to be good at both and not just focus on athletics and let your professors aid you through the rest.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete? DII means exactly what I have just stated above. We have to balance a lot of things in our lives. I am a married student-athlete and I see my wife probably three hours a night because I have athletics, then homework and study sessions. I have to be dedicated to academics and athletics and not just pick one. DII focuses on the balance of the two and makes us better for it.

Who are you current mentor(s)? My current mentor would probably be my coach, John Spatz. He is probably the closest male adult that I can go to if I have any problems.

What are your future goals after school? I want to work for a year and then attend graduate school in Texas. That's the plan at least. Hopefully life doesn't get in the way. I would love to attend PT school or enter some form of medical field, but I'm not sure what I want to do in that field yet.

What is the biggest obstacle you overcame during your collegiate career? I am currently going through one of the biggest obstacles in my life and it won't end until I graduate. This is the first year that I have been married, I'm taking 18 credits, involved in a full-time sport with three seasons and I'm working outside of school 25-30 hours a week as assistant manager of a local coffee shop.

What is the best advice you'd give to an incoming freshman? Enjoy every moment because everything happens for a reason. I can't tell you how many times I have told myself to look at the glass half full and it helps. I've constantly wished school would just race by so I can be done with sports and school and my hectic schedule, but in reality, no matter how terrible it seems, these will be the best years of my life -- when I am sweating and having mental breakdowns due to school. In these four years I have fought my hardest for physical fitness, A-minus grades on tests and gaining the trust and friendship of those around me. I will miss my collegiate years more than anything else.

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)? If I could spend the day with one person it would be my grandpa Val because he has taught me a lot in life. I grew up around my grandparents a lot and we moved away from them. A couple of years ago I spent a week in Alaska with my grandpa. I had conversations with him that I have never had before and it was amazing how much we bonded. I learned so much from my grandpa and I love every story that he tells me, even when I hear it twice. My grandpa is a very wise man and it is so much fun spending time with someone who is willing to share the world with you and teach you valuable life lessons.

What is your favorite sports team? I don't have a favorite sports team really because I watch players instead of teams. I root for individual athletes that stand out and lead their team in ways that I wish to lead my team.

Who is your favorite athlete? My favorite athlete would probably be Derrick Rose because he has been through so many trials of injuries and has still come back. Usually an athlete will stop playing after they blow their knee out once or twice, but Rose has been through three or four leg and knee injuries and continues to come back. He loves the game so much that he can't stay away, and an athlete that can do that is one to look up to.

What is your most memorable sports-related moment? One of my most memorable moments in sports is when I won my high school basketball championship. I was one of the few freshmen on the team and we made it all the way to the championship game. It was so memorable because I was playing with guys who I clicked with on the court and we all had such chemistry when it came to playing basketball.

What is one thing that people don't know about you? I truly hate running. I say that in a sense that running is something I always come back to. A runner high is a very real thing. Almost everyone knows that running is one of the most painful sports out there. The things that we have to put our bodies through are treacherous and a lot of times I go home thinking that I am going to love the moment when I graduate and don't have to run anymore. Every once in a while it will hit me on a run. I will be out in the middle of the Owyhee Mountains running 12-15 miles and that "runners' high" hits ... I look out and see a sunrise and the vast creation that God put into place and I just think to myself, "You know what, it doesn't get any better than this." It's an addicting feeling and there is nothing else quite like it. It makes you feel invincible and I wouldn't trade it for anything. When I am out there I feel like I am on top of the world and for that reason I will never stop running. It's more addicting than any drug or other feeling known to man.