As a part of Lawrence University’s celebration of NCAA Division III Week, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) put together a talk by the Lawrence University Football team’s own Mark Speckman on Thursday April 7. SACC Co-chair and junior Jackson Straughan set the stage for an eager audience. Speckman, an offensive coordinator for the Vikings, was born without hands. After playing football at Azusa Pacific University as a linebacker at the NAIA level, he earned honorable mention for All-American. Rather than letting his disability take control of his life, he has persevered and has made his name and story known on a national level.
Mark Speckman is well-respected by not only the Lawrence community, but also in the high school, collegiate, and professional levels of football. Speckman received his first coaching job at Livingston High School. Here, he built his legacy and inspired many with his positive attitude. As a result of this, he was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.
“What I’ve learned about motivation is you can’t motivate anybody. What motivated you three years from now isn’t going to motivate you today. What motivated you at 11 this morning is not going to motivate you at three this afternoon”. Speckman spoke to his captivated audience about his experiences with motivation, how one tackles motivation, as well as his own struggles and how he stays motivated. Despite not having hands, Speckman can still write, type, use a cell phone and play racquetball. Speckman even played trombone in high school and can drive. Though Speckman has had a valid driver’s license in both California and Oregon, he still faces discrimination. According the Appleton Post Crescent, when he brought his valid California license to the Appleton division of the Department of Motor Vehicles, he was required to take a driving test. Speckman announced to the audience that he would be suing the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles for disability discrimination.
Although Speckman believes his role is only loosely related to that of a motivational speaker, he truly was an outstanding way to conclude NCAA D3 Week and touched the hearts of the community members, coaches, and especially the athletes in attendance.