Shooting from the Hip with Bray Malphrus
Senior Bray Malphrus is a senior captain and UVa’s top long-stick midfielder. The Chevy Chase, Md., native recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss how he chose UVa, his desire to join the Army after graduation and what it means to be voted a captain by the team.
Question: You were selected as a captain by your teammates at the start of the season. Were you surprised by the honor?
Malphrus: It always comes as a surprise. It’s a great honor to be elected by your peers to lead and know that they have respect for you. It didn’t really change the way I behave or the way any of the other captains behave. We came into this year as a senior class with a set of goals. We wanted to set the standard higher.
Question: Looking back on your early playing days, what is your first memory of Virginia lacrosse?
Malphrus: Back when I was in eighth grade, Chris Rotelli, who used to play here, came and spoke at my middle school, The Mater Dei School in Bethesda, Maryland. I remember I was like, ‘I like that kid, I like everything he said.’ So that kind of got me thinking about Virginia lacrosse. In middle school and high school, I was good friends with Danny Glading, so when Danny committed to the University of Virginia, I was psyched for him and I was happy for him. I kept talking to him about it. As he progressed through his first two years here while I was still in high school, I kept in contact with him. He was like, ‘This is awesome. This is the place you want to come to play lacrosse. It’s got great athletics; it’s got great academics; the people are great. It’s just an all-around great University.’ I’d say between that and also seeing Chris Rotelli early – on-those were two significant influences that got me here.
Question: Now that your college career is drawing to a close and reflecting back on your time at Virginia, do you feel there is any way in particular that you have grown over the past four years?
Malphrus: Coming out of high school, I was pretty narrow-minded-kind of like, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’ If I didn’t see eye-to-eye with someone, that was probably someone I wasn’t going to talk to for maybe the rest of my life as far as I was concerned. Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned that you have to work with other people and you have to open up. Sometimes you have to compromise your perspective and accept someone else’s, especially being a senior and being a leader. I’ve kind of broadened my horizons. You have to let everyone speak their mind and figure out how to take those different perspectives and put them together into one common goal.
Question: Do you have any post-college plans in place yet?
Malphrus: Right now I’m thinking about enlisting in the Army. I think I’m going to take the first three months and just kind of relax. It’s been pretty intense in the classroom and on the field. I’m going to try to work some lacrosse camps and hang out with some of my friends here. Then probably come September, I’m going to join up.
Question: Have you always been interested in someday joining the military?
Malphrus: I’ve known since high school that that’s what I wanted to do-serve the country for a little bit. Coming out of high school, I even looked at the Naval Academy extensively. I ultimately decided that, with the knowledge at that age that I wanted to graduate and join the military, I might as well enjoy four years of college first. If I like it though, I might make a career out of it. It should be a culture shock.
Question: Is there anything specific about the military lifestyle that appeals to you?
Malphrus: I love the whole high speed-low drag motto. You’re out there in the field, navigating from waypoint to waypoint. It’s a very goal-oriented organization. It’s very up-tempo, in addition to the camaraderie aspect. I think you make some great bonds there.
Question: Is there anything you have learned in lacrosse that you feel will serve you well in the military?
Malphrus: You’ve learned to work with 40 different people. Everyone’s got different goals and different viewpoints. Especially being a senior, you’ve got to learn to take those 40 different views, melt them down into one common goal, and then spin that in the right direction. I think that’s something that will come in handy once I join the military. Certainly the physical stuff will help-all the running and lifting. The kind of physical beating we take will help me get through basic training.
Question: Finally, what will you remember about your time at Virginia?
Malphrus: I’ve loved my four years here. As much as I’m ready to get out of the classroom, I’m not ready to leave behind my friends here, the coaching staff, the personnel, and the administration. Everything’s been great, the people here are awesome-I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a college experience.