There exist college athletes with no ulterior motives.
They play at the next level not as a means to an athletic end, but instead keep playing beyond high school due to their love of sport, for playing’s sake, and they expect little more than a sense of accomplishment.
These athletes practice the same amount of hours and play the same number of games as their bound-for-the-professional-ranks counterparts in the various conferences around this land, yet do it almost completely under the radar.
Johnson High graduate and Piedmont College senior Sarah Lane is one of those athletes.
Lane, who will graduate in May with an accounting degree, played both volleyball and basketball at the small college in Demorest.
“What motivated me to do both, to continue playing both in college, was simply playing,” Lane said. “Knowing I only had a certain amount of time to play really kept me wanting to work hard and succeed.
“I am also a stronger person because of my experiences playing two sports and trying to balance classes.”
For Lane, The Times Volleyball Player of the Year in 2003, attending a smaller college — Piedmont has an enrollment of 2,000 students — and getting to continue playing the sports she loves was more important than the prestige that comes along with going to a bigger school.
“A smaller school is more personal and intimate,” Lane said. “You get more personal attention with teachers, coaches and advisors. You see the same people everyday, pass them on the way to class and see them in the cafeteria and you build relationships.
“Plus, and I don’t really know how to put this, if you genuinely love a sport, going to a smaller school has its advantages because you have a better chance of actually playing.”
Lane wore the No. 33 in both volleyball and basketball and, for the past two years, helped the Piedmont basketball team win the Great South Athletic Conference title and advance to the Division III national tournament.
She has been named to the Great South Athletic Conference All-Academic team for both volleyball and basketball, has been named All-Conference in volleyball and has also been tabbed as an NCCAA All-South Region performer.
Lane, a member of the Campus Activities Board, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Athletic Council was also voted Piedmont’s 2007 Homecoming Queen by her peers.
“I certainly don’t think of myself as the homecoming queen type,” Lane said. “I was, however, very honored that people even thought of me during the voting process, much less voted me the winner.”
Lane made the most of her college years and hopes to continue down the path of accomplishment by earning a masters degree in business management.
“I want to be a graduate assistant for volleyball and get my masters,” Lane said. “I am looking at either attending Francis Marion in South Carolina or Piedmont.
“I am looking forward to having fun this summer and then buckling down for the next two years and getting my masters and see where that takes me.”
Lane tore her anterior cruciate ligament toward the end of her senior season of basketball and is using that injury as motivation for future endeavors.
“I want to help someone else achieve what I have achieved,” Lane said. “And because of my ACL injury, I have a burning desire to stay in sports as much as I can and coaching allows for that.
“I am really looking forward to hopefully being a graduate assistant because it will be a good indication of whether or not coaching is what I really want.”
The chance of playing professionally was never a thought that entered into Lane’s mind. She played sports in college simply because she loved playing sports and the lessons learned during that process will remain and hopefully be passed on.
“Being involved in sports in college taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to,” Lane said. “My college experience taught me never to give up on myself.
“It went by so fast though, it seems like I blinked and four years had gone by.”