A Lipscomb distance runner who is the son of distance coaches, he became a Bison for the opportunity to run in an NCAA DI program. Well, that was one reason. We found out plenty more about this entertaining and talented English major in the first of a two-part series featuring David and Lynn (Roller) Lavender when they visited this week with LipscombSports.com.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
I ran Cross Country and Track for Coach Clay Nicks from spring of 2002 through the end of my junior year in 2004.
What teammate was most memorable?
I should probably disclaimer everything that follows: I have a terrible memory for specifics, and there’s a chance everything that follows is an unintentionally fuzzy half-truth.
Jonathan Eckberg, Rob Regg, and Zac Yanis were the backbone and heart of our team while I was there. Jon was ridiculously consistent and often functioned as our team’s alarm clock for early morning runs. He never complained about a workout, and I don’t think he ever got hurt. He also pulled off the rare college feat of being a great guitarist without telling everyone he was a great guitarist.
Zac and Rob just made everything more fun, from meals to workouts to cold tub treatments. They were the easy-going glue guys that every team needs. Also, Zac made running look so effortless. He didn’t even breathe through his mouth in races. I want to put that in all caps, but I’ll just repeat it: He only breathed through his nose when running.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the women’s team, too. They were (and are) a remarkable bunch of humans who worked really hard while being consistently hilarious and unpredictable.
What degree have you earned?
Whew, this is going to be quick. I earned my B.A. from Lipscomb in 2005. Full stop.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
I spent my first semester of my freshman year at ACU, but I came to Lipscomb for the remainder of college for a few reasons. The chance to compete in an NCAA DI program was appealing, and I’m very thankful to Coach Nicks for that chance. Also, Lipscomb runs in my family’s blood, with somewhere between 20 and 200 family members having attended or worked at Lipscomb.
My pride won’t allow me to fully fess up to this, but there’s one more reason: Lynn Roller was at Lipscomb playing basketball for the Lady Bisons. We’d been close friends in high school, and there may have been a bit of a “siren’s call” thing going on in my subconscious.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
In the track season of 2004 we couldn’t go on spring break because we were in season. So several teammates and I piled into a sedan to do a lightning-quick road trip to watch the Lady Bisons play in the ASUN basketball tournament in Dothan, Alabama.
We didn’t really think things through. After an amazing semifinals win, we decided to stay for the finals game the next day. What we failed to realize, unfortunately, was the fact that every hotel and motel in the city was booked due to Dothan’s proximity to the gulf beaches, so four nearly-grown men slept in a mid-sized sedan in a Walmart parking lot. It was a terrible night, and the aroma in the car the next morning was … distressingly memorable.
But it was worth it. We got to watch our friends on the women’s team win the ASUN Championship the next day and punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Man, so many people helped me along the way, and it’s hard to know where to start. My parents, Earl & Rebecca Lavender, were my Cross Country coaches in high school at Lipscomb, and they were relentless encouragers. Keith O’Neal, my cousin, ran with me for one season, and he was a big part of my decision to run in college. Dan Turner, who I ran with for a year in high school, was an assistant coach, and he’s someone I’ve always looked up to.
What do you remember about Lipscomb campus life during your time here?
It’s tough to beat the memories of dorm-room shenanigans (more on that below.)
What is the most valuable lesson you learned in your time at Lipscomb?
Okay, so I’m going to modify this question a bit to read “an unexpectedly valuable thing that I’m still using today.” This is going to sound shallow, but if you’re like me and have small kiddos at home, you might understand where I’m coming from.
In the dorms, we had the dreaded curfews but no college kid is going to sleep at 10:00 p.m. So, we filled those late hours by making up games to entertain ourselves and to stay (mostly) out of trouble. Sometimes the games were painful, usually they were funny, but they were always inane. You stick a bunch of boys with still-forming brains inside a tight space, and it’s going to get wacky.
Fast-forward 14 years, and now Lynn and I have two young boys. On cold or rainy days, we can feel trapped inside the house, not unlike High Rise or Sewell. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many dorm-room games can be altered for age-appropriateness to fend off cabin fever with two young kids.
Who were your favorite professors & why?
The short answer should be my father, Dr. Earl Lavender. (That feels weird to say – I just call him Dad.) But I made the mistake of taking one of his classes at 8:00 a.m., and I was not at my sharpest during that course. He was great; I was sleepy.
As an English major, I also had a whole host of wonderful professors, and I learned alongside some people who were (are) way smarter than me. I owe a lot to those folks, and I still reference (and cite) some of the lessons they taught me.
What do you do now?
I’m a commercial filmmaker. Eight years ago a friend and I turned weekend passion projects into a company called Yeah Yeah Creative. I frequently work alongside ADVENT (helmed by Lipscomb alum John Roberson), and they send me to universities around the country to film and edit projects.
It’s a step or two removed from being an English major at Lipscomb, but it’s gratifying to discover the common threads between what I learned in school and what I’m doing now.
Tell us about your family:
I’m married to Lynn Roller Lavender, and we live in Nashville with our two sons. Calvin is five years old, and Wesley is three.
- Favorite food: Sushi
- Favorite TV show or movie: Parks and Rec
- Favorite Bible scripture: 1 John 4:7-8 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
- Favorite sports team: Any team LeBron is on
- Pet peeve: Nagging old-man injuries
- Person I most admire: Lynn and her still-sweet jump shot
- Person I’d most like to meet: Toss-up between Richard Rohr and Bill Watterson
- Rather ride or drive? The passenger is the DJ, so ride
- Pick one – salad or dessert: Dessert
- Dream vacation spot: New Zealand
- Early morning or late night person? Frustratingly, still a late-night person
You can reach David via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.