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October 2021

Therapist opens mobile business for athletes

Starting a business is not a simple task, regardless of what your industry may be. And for physical therapist Dr. Erica Rodriguez, the experience has been a real master class in “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

It’s only been a few months since Erica quit her full-time job in an outpatient clinic and hung the shingle out for 4th Quarter Recovery, based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But already she’s built up an impressive portfolio of clientele who range from up-and-coming high school phenoms to professionals with face and name recognition.

Erixa with Dez Bryant
Erica stretches Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver

But that was all part of her plan.

“I’ve had some good success so far. Within the last year, I’ve worked with about eight of the Dallas Cowboys and have some other NFL players from other teams, and I have worked with NBA players as well. Those are my main two, basketball and football,” notes Erica, who earned her Wayland bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2011. “I do have some elite high school players that I treat as well, and some normal people who are connected to those professional players or people that I know.

“All my marketing is more toward the professional athletes. I want to be able to travel with them if they want me to, so I’m not really taking a straight route to this.”

Taking the leap of faith

A lifelong sports fan, Erica came into physical therapy as a career with the intention of helping other athletes like herself get the help they need to not only overcome injuries but to prevent them and to keep their bodies as well-oiled machines for their best performance in their sport. She gained additional knowledge and expertise while working at an outpatient therapy clinic, but her dream to help athletes solely was never far from her mind. Eventually, she began looking for the perfect job scenario that she wanted to fill.

“Finally, I realized if I think I can do all this and I can’t find a job that matches, I will create it myself. That’s what led me to start pursuing athletes and building my business,” said Erica, noting she began to make connections in earnest starting in late July 2020, all while still holding down a full-time job. “I had the intention of (starting a business) for a while, but it was just being prepared and taking that leap. I just bet on myself and thought I could really do this.”

That’s proven true, but Erica admits the year has not been without some real work and building relationships and trust.

“Networking is huge. I knew I had the skill, so I just needed to get myself in front of the right people. I started paying attention to who was in the area, who was training whom in terms of skills training or strength and conditioning, and started reaching out,” she recalls. “I did a little volunteer work, too, which is always good. From there, it was just being genuine with people.

“Once I got one (player) in the door, it opened a lot of doors. It was through word of mouth. The players I worked with were pleased and would put me onto another player. That’s how it went with the Cowboys. It’s actually a small world in the area if several players use you then your name gets passed around to others.”

 A different model

Erica set up 4th Quarter Recovery as a mobile business, providing concierge service for her high-end clients. That means she has no storefront and is able to travel to their homes, practice

Erica and Keontae

Erica with Baylor commit

Keyonte George

fields or training centers, gyms and the like to work with them in whatever they need. For professional athletes, she said this is greatly appreciated as it saves them travel time and increases family time as well as ensuring their privacy. That’s where being trustworthy and genuine comes into play.

“They have to trust me coming into their home and into their personal environment as well as having their personal information. If they are having conversations while I am there, some of those could be news,” she said. “That’s why word of mouth is important. They know that somebody they know has worked with you and trusts you and they can too. That’s the biggest thing in this world I’ve figured out.”

As a practitioner, Erica loves the business model because it lets her focus solely on the one client in front of her and not have to juggle a few in one PT session as she would often experience in the clinic setting. That focus means she can usually help someone heal faster in the case of an injury. The flexibility also lets her work with players wherever they desire, and she’s been able to sit in on practices or trainings and really see the athletes demonstrate their skill.

The work has also added to Erica’s appreciation of elite athletes and the dedication both to their sport and to the physical training it takes to stay productive.

“I feel like I’m getting to know these players I’m treating well. When I watch them play on TV, it’s a little different now. I know all the sacrifices they put in to be able to put on the uniform, and they put in hard days to get where they are,” she says. “It’s cool to be a part of their process, and they are typically very appreciative of what I can help them with. I’ve worked with a lot of populations, and they seem to truly value my expertise and opinions.”

Humble beginnings

A native of Sterling City, Texas, Erica first came to Wayland to play basketball for the storied Flying Queens program, bringing many years of experience on the court as an All-State player. An injury her first year sent her to a physical therapist and she began rethinking her future plans to go into sports medicine. She switched her minor from education to biology so she could pick up more of the science classes she’d need for PT school. She was accepted to University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2014.

Erica and Montae
Erica with Cowboy Damontae Kazee 

“Physical therapy is not all about sports, of course, but my connection was wanting to still be involved with sports. It’s a nice way to stay close to that world in a way,” she said. “I’m very passionate about working with athletes to help them reach their goals.”

She loves the profession because she wanted to stay involved with sports. Her love for sports and athletes is apparent in her passion and in her business name.

“The fourth quarter is a time when everybody gives their best effort, their last effort. In basketball, my dad would always say to me ‘fourth quarter’ and that’s when it’s time to turn it up. It’s your last chance to turn it on,” she said. “So when I wanted to target athletes, I thought about 4th Quarter Recovery and I think people will know if they are athletes. Once I said it out loud, I said, ‘Yep, that’s what it is.’”

As Erica continues to grow her business, she’s grateful for those who gave her a chance when she was starting out. Paired with her skills and success rates, she is poised for continued growth and partnerships moving forward.

“In networking, you have to have a little bit of ‘no fear’ in you. I’m OK with being told no, because I’ll get a yes too eventually. I have heard the saying ‘your network is your net worth’ and I truly believe that. The people I’ve surrounded myself with are the ones that have truly helped me grow,” Erica says. “Some of it is being in the right place at the right time but it’s also while you are there rising to the occasion. You have to capitalize on the times you are at the right place at the right time. Recognizing those opportunities and presenting yourself in the right way with genuine intentions has helped me.”

 

Hawaii alum building Christian retreat center

Mike Sherer has packed a lot of life into his years, and his last few projects have focused on his love for the gospel message and for his walk with Jesus. While his faith is nothing new – he became a believer in Jesus at age 12 – he credits his study at Wayland with taking him to a deeper level in that walk.

“I had finished my command tour on a submarine and served on a staff in the Philippines, then we moved back to Hawaii for another Navy job,” he recalls. “I just felt a strong urge to know more about the Lord and get some depth. I wanted to expand with some quality penetration into the Word. I found out about the Wayland evening program, where I could work during the day and go to class at night.”

Mike Sherer
Mike Sherer

Stationed at the time on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Mike enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education program at Wayland’s Hawaii campus. He attended for a few years, then earned his degree in 1988.

He found the experience “life-enhancing” as he learned about what different denominations believed on certain issues associated with the church. He noted that he appreciated that the professor did not interject his own beliefs but just stated the views, shared what the Bible had to say and then let the class members decide on their own what they believed.

“I found that to be extremely helpful, and after those two years I felt really well rooted and grounded in the Word and was encouraged to continue studying at every opportunity,” says Mike.

Change of scenery

The Navy soon relocated the Sherer family to Washington, and he served on the Bangor Trident Base for two more years before retiring in 1990. Mike and his wife Mary then moved their family – then including three adopted children – to some property they had earlier purchased in a remote mountain area of north central Washington called Stehekin, a community of 100 with little but the nature surrounding it.

Situated on the northern end of Lake Chelan, the community is only accessible by boat or by walking as no roads go there. Very few of the modern conveniences are offered, like wifi or phone service. It’s as close to “off the grid” as folks can probably get.

But it was home to the Sherers as their children grew, and they ran a small newspaper there for a few years as well. When their oldest reached high school age, the family had to make other arrangements since the community had no high school. The Sherers then moved 55 miles south to Manson, located at nearly the southernmost end of the incredibly narrow Lake Chelan. Their work varied during the years that followed. Mike ran an excavation business for a few years, then the couple bought a hotel to renovate, completing that over six years and running it for 3-4 more years.

Life on the farm

Their longest venture came when they bought a farm that needed significant renovation, and they ran what they called Shererwood Forest Farm for 17 years. Though it was already running, the farm needed major work.

“It was a severely degraded apple orchard. It hadn’t been cared for in 20 years, so it was the ultimate fixer upper. It had one charming feature: it had been platted into subdivided lots in 1917, which predated every county regulation,” noted Mike. “We were able to sell off 11 waterfront lots since we didn’t change the boundaries, put all the infrastructure in without any permits for the whole thing. It was an amazing thing to do. We sold off 11 acres, kept 20 acres and sold apples, hay, meat sheep and hazelnuts for 17 years and then sold the farm.”

Going a little rustic

Since selling the farm two years ago, the Sherers have focused their energy into land development and real estate investments, renovating homes and other projects. Of late, they’ve turned their focus to the land back in Shehekin, where their vision of creating a Bible camp they call Rustic Retreat is taking shape.

“We’ve done It all out of pocket, and it was the Lord’s thing all along. We had kind of a vision that we wanted a camp on the 27 acres of land, and we had been thinking of that pretty

Rustic Retreat
Rustic Retreat lodge house

strongly. We had been swept into a class-action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company that we had nothing to do with starting,” Mike recalls. “We had a proposed settlement of $700, so I told my wife, ‘what if we just don’t take the settlement and see what the Lord has in mind for us?’ Nothing happened for about six months, and then came a massive check hundreds of times bigger, so we felt that must be the Lord telling us to move ahead with this camp. So we did.”

The Sherers started by installing water wells and clearing the land, a process that took years. Mike purchased a saw mill to create his own lumber for building at a reasonable price since there are no hardware stores nearby. They even screened gravel out of the hillside to make concrete, assembling everything that has been done with their own hands.

“There are no services of any kind here, so you have to do it all yourself. It’s so remote that everything has to be shipped here on a barge, and that only runs every two weeks. The closest hardware store is 55 miles away, so it is a challenge every step of the way,” Mike adds.

The Sherers have logged three decades of work on the camp, and they are seeing the finish line in sight, hoping for completion in the spring. Currently there are two buildings, totaling 7,500 square feet, all with water, sewer and power though that provided many technical challenges. Mike is working on mudding, drywall and flooring and hopes to have an external wood furnace to heat in the chilly winter months installed very soon. Then he’ll set about finding a young couple to help run the camp. A manager’s apartment was created for that purpose.

Mike says the camp will house 30 in the bunk rooms and will be available for groups to rent for any Bible retreats, ministry training and the like. The surrounding beauty offers plenty of entertainment through fishing, hunting, hiking, canoeing and rafting. He has no real plans for curriculum, but offers the facility to be used for God’s glory.

“I call it the ministry of enabling. It’s to enable people to connect and grow and mature in whatever training they are in that week. It’ll be a multifaceted facility,” he says. “The slate is blank as far as what we may do… we’re leaving that in God’s hands.”

Sharing Jesus’ words

Recently, Mike also added author to his resume with the April release of Speaking of Jesus… Mike had studied scripture regularly, but he was moved to pen the volume he calls a consolidated presentation of Jesus’ ministry, using plain talk to reach the ordinary person.

He was inspired by an encounter with a young woman working the register at a local hotel restaurant one day while he was eating with a

Mike Sherer and family
Sherer family in Washington

men’s group. He had been feeling “pestered by the Lord to do something” but wasn’t quite sure what that was.

“You know how you look in some people’s eyes and you see vacancy? She looked disturbed. I wished I could pull her aside and ask if I could help her in any way. But there were people

stacked in line waiting behind me, so I paid my bill and I left,” Mike recalled. “Two days later, that girl hung herself in the basement of that same hotel, and I was heavily affected by that. I had nothing to give her at the time. So I embarked on writing this book.”

Mike’s hope is that should he encounter others in similar situations that he’ll be able to share the words of Jesus and bring them comfort. To that end, he keeps copies of the book in all his vehicles and keeps his eyes open for opportunities to share. He has no plans to sell the book but sees it as ministry.

“I look at the book like this plate. The plate does not take credit for the steak that is on it; neither do I take credit for the Lord’s words. I simply put it in a book and organized it, then in the last chapters put the words down and made comments on the verses, trying to explain them to the common person,” he says. “I’m simply trying to make the words as simple as possible to convey the information on those topics as rapidly and efficiently as I can to the reader.”

 

Devotional: Pray first, not as last resort

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." ~ James 5:13-16

Life is hard. Sure, there are some great moments. Celebrating the birth of a child, a graduation, a wedding. 

But man, there sure can be some tough stuff too. There are just some "not fair" moments that we just have to mourn and then move on. And then there are times that really try us to the core. Test our faith. Strengthen our faith. If there's anything this past 18 months has taught me, it's that life just isn't always easy. It can't be sunshine and roses all the time. And the past few months I have seen so much hurt and suffering around me... too close for comfort really. Death. Divorce. Broken relationships. Job uncertainty. 

Praying hands

At some point it can get overwhelming. It can begin to look like there is nothing good left in the world. It can feel hopeless, dropping us to our knees. Ironically, that's exactly where we belong. Prayer should not be the last resort when life gets tough, but how many of us get so stuck in the day-to-day struggle to bravely manage our lives that we forget we are never expected to do it alone. We have a God who promises to walk beside us, carry us when we are too weak, quiet us with his love and rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Take heart, hurting one. God is still here. He has never left his throne and he doesn't have plans to abdicate it. But he longs for us to sit at his feet and pour our hearts out in earnest to him. To lay our burdens at His feet. Then leave them there. The verses in James above remind us that the Lord is there for us in any emotion. Trouble, happiness, sickness. Prayer is our communication tool with the very God of the universe, and he wants us to reach out to him. He cares about what hurts us. And he's made us a promise that James reiterates: Prayer is effective and powerful. 

If you're finding yourself a little overwhelmed by the heaviness of life, take it to the Lord. Pour out your heart. He knows anyway, and he's promised to be there as you walk through the valley. You are never alone.

Teresa Young is a 1994 graduate of Wayland and serves as the Director of Alumni Relations at WBU. A journalist by trade, she has worked in public relations and in fundraising for WBU and counts it a high privilege to work for her alma mater. She and husband Tommy have four furry children.

 

From the History Files

This month's history recap continues a series about some of the historic buildings on the main campus in Plainview, where Wayland was founded in 1908.

Caprock Hall
Caprock Hall, modern era

The oldest standing men's suite dormitory on campus is Caprock Hall, located on the south side of the campus near the Moody Science Building and Harral Music Complex. The hall consists of

Caprock roof work in 1966
Roof work at Caprock in 1966

two towers, Atwood Hall and Marshall Hall. Both are named after WBU presidents, Dr. Elmer Atwood and Dr. Bill Marshall, respectively. Groundbreaking for the Atwood wing was held in 1966 under the presidency of Dr. Roy McClung. Marshall Hall was then added in 1980 to the complex.

The dorm is smaller and has a smaller lobby area, though it boasts a large basement common area typically used for gaming and study by the male residents. Each tower has sets of suites

inlcuding two individual rooms connected by a shared living room area and a bathroom. A popular attraction has been the outdoor sand volleyball court, often the site for intramural tournaments or afternoon pickup games. 

The dormitory has remained a home for men throughout its history.

 

 

 

Meet Your Alumni Board: Deirdre Trotter

Lubbock alumnus Deirdre Trotter joined the Alumni Board in August wanting to give back to the offered her an opportunity to pursue her dreams

Deirdre Trotter
Deirdre Trotter

while a working mom. 

"I appreciate the options that Wayland offers to non-traditional students and because of my history believe it is a good place for me to be involved. If not for the night classes and online classes I would not have received my bachelor's degree and would not have been able to attend law school," said Deirdre, an attorney with the Bustos Law Firm in Lubbock. 

Raised in Hale County and a Plainview High graduate, she knew of Wayland and her mom had attended briefly. But the campus in Lubbock was a fit during that season of her life. Deirdre earned her BSOE in Lubbock in 2010, earned a master's degree in information science from University of North Texas, then went to the Texas Tech School of Law for her juris doctorate degree, earning that in 2017. At Bustos, she practices primarily probate, estate planning and all types of business law. She is also certified in mediation and is qualified to be a neutral third party in disputes.

She and husband Terry have been married 42 years. They have two daughters, three grandsons and two granddaughters. 

 

 

 

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