MCHS football players spend time with youngsters
By Alvin Richardson
In the midst of a gloomy football season you would think our football players and coaches might have dropped their heads and looked for places to hide. After all, the kids in Morgan County’s program are used to being successful on the field. In a rare down year they have indeed found ways to turn water into wine by reaching out to our primary and elementary age students in the county. They have sent a clear message that losses on the field are not the only thing that counts. They have done this below the radar and without fanfare and I bring you this news so we may recognize and be proud of their accomplishments off the field.
Each Friday between seven and 10 varsity football players journey to the primary school to read and talk to several classes there. They have actually adopted three of the classes at the school. The players interact with the students while they are there and this ritual that began in August has grown into more than just a visit, it has formed a bond between the two groups that will long be a part of their memories. Teachers Lindsey Peaster and Monica Semrad should also be credited in this endeavor as they asked Coach Bill Malone if they would consider coming over to see their kids. When Coach Malone got the invitation he immediately accepted and a splendid story was born.
The good deeds do not end there. Two star MCHS players, Ryan Glosson and Phillip Stovall have taken on mentoring chores at the school as well. Often there are children who benefit from having an older person spend time with them and that they are heroes in the eyes of the children adds spice to the relationship. As we all know young ones will often listen more closely to those nearer their age than they will to us old folks. When we hear of our young adults taking time to help and advise is a story that makes us all feel good.
There is more. Before the Stephens County game Lindsey Peaster and Monica Semrad (aforementioned teachers at the primary school) brought their students to the locker room prior to the game. The kids got game balls signed by the seniors, traded handoffs, and tried on jerseys. They were treated to handshakes and pats on the back by the football players. Not only did the little ones benefit from these moments together, but the players may have learned that wins and losses do not define them. What defines them is their character in the face of adversity.
The list of good deeds for the football team also includes volunteering at the chili cook off, the Cotton Gin Festival and bagging groceries at Ingles. They have shown through their actions that they take their responsibilities as school leaders seriously. They have learned how to interact with adults and children in a way that will benefit them greatly in the future.
Last week Coach Malone had his seniors answer this question: If you were in the ninth grade what would you want a senior football player to say to you? What kind of advice do you think would have been helpful? Here are some of those answers. “Work hard, show class, never quit and be committed.” “Have fun, show your pride, inspire others.” “Prepare hard, be tenacious, pull for each other.” “Become a leader and show character.” “Show sportsmanship, pick up others when they are down, and show common sense at school and in the community.”
These answers speak volumes about what they have learned as members of the Morgan County football program. Their actions during the year back up the words of the seniors as they answered this question. It is a story that makes us all feel good about our kids even as they struggle with one of the little bumps in the road of life. It’s not all about winning and losing. Mostly it’s about growing. I think they have done that.