October 26, 2009
The 2009 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award winner from the College of Education finds that path rewarding after a career that began with a volleyball scholarship to Baylor University and continued at several public schools as a teacher and coach before she made her way to ASU.
“After I graduated from Baylor, they offered me an opportunity to stay and do my master’s,” Price said. “I finished my master’s in a year and worked with the volleyball team as a graduate assistant.”
She taught health and physical education in several different high schools before realizing that she needed a different direction in her life.
“In the back of my mind,” Price said, “I didn’t see myself doing that when I was 40. I went back to school at Texas Woman’s University, which is noted for its adaptive physical education. I was more interested in sports sciences – exercise science, biomechanics and exercise physiology.”
Price came to ASU’s Kinesiology Department while she was still working on her doctoral dissertation at TWU. Here, she found another route stretching out before her.
“When I first got here, Melanie Croy was department head and told me I needed to teach adaptive physical education” she said. “I had never taken a class in adaptive, but I hung around other graduate students who were doing that, so I had a pretty good idea about it.”
“I was also familiar with adaptive because my grandfather had his leg amputated when I was seven years old due to circulatory problems. I learned at an early age that life goes on and that a disability wasn’t something that had to stop you from living. My grandfather continued to drive, fish, and live life to the fullest.”
“It’s been neat for me,” Price said, “because I have been able to look at the exercise physiology and biomechanics side of why a person with cerebral palsy walks that way or looking at muscular dystrophy or mental retardation characteristics and what implication they have in terms of exercise or mechanics of walking.”
Price also teaches physical education for elementary school. She said students study age and developmentally appropriate activities along with classroom management techniques.
“I encourage my physical education students to make interdisciplinary connections, such as reinforcing math, science or language arts concepts while teaching physical education,” Price said. “If we scratch the classroom teachers’ backs, they may do that for us.”
Outside the classroom, Price plays golf for recreation and walked a lot until she injured her Achilles tendons.
“I would walk in a neighborhood park, maybe 35 miles a week,” she said. “In 2007, I had MRIs done and both tendons were torn. It was a combination of walking on pavement and the amount I was doing.”
Price still walks some when she plays golf but not on a paved cart path.
Two sports she can’t participate in are curling and speed skating, which were popular in her native Wisconsin but not so much in West Texas.
“I’ve never had a chance to play curling,” said Price, who has one of the sport’s 44-pound oval-shaped and polished concrete stones in her office. “It’s interested me in the last eight or nine years. It’s getting more publicity and requires a lot of balance and teamwork.”
“There probably aren’t too many people in San Angelo with a curling stone,” Price said. “When it was delivered, the poor guy from UPS pulled up with this box. I thought it was going to be a great doorstop.”
She said she sees the stone as much more than that, however.
“The whole idea behind curling is a lot like life,” Price said. “You look at the slippery destination toward a goal. Sometimes there are obstacles you have to overcome and sometimes you need your buddies to help you through.”