Saturday, April 12, 2014

Positive Teen Role Models

I may have mentioned before that my kiddo's attend a small parochial school.

Did I mention that the school is small? As in, barley 300 kids (if that) from grades K-12, kinda small?!

There is advantages and disadvantages to attending such a small school.

Advantage: everyone knows your name.

Disadvantage: everyone knows your name.  

Advantage: class sizes are small so teachers are able to give more undivided attention to those who need a bit more help.

Disadvantage: class sizes are small so teachers have undivided attention! It is much harder to get away with "stuff" (wink).

Advantage: you are able to participate in extra curricular activities that you might otherwise get "cut" from at a larger school.

Disadvantage: with such a small talent pool to pull from, there are times when coaches, friends, teachers and parents will BEG you to play a certain sport so that the school can field a team. 

Disadvantage: sometimes those teams are made up of player and coach combinations that are toxic.  There is such a negative vibe that underclassmen are not inclined to join the team and previous team members decide not to play rather than endure another miserable season. 

For the last couple of years the baseball team, unfortunately, fit into that last disadvantage category.  The end of the school year saw those personalities graduating and coaches moving on, but in the wake, was left a program that had gained a very negative reputation. 

The surviving players begged, pleaded and recruited enough players (just barely) to field a team.  Of the 12 players, keeping in mind that 9 players are required to be on the field, SEVEN of the players are a combination of freshmen and players who have either never played or have not played since middle school.

Needless to say, there is a whole lot of newbies on the field during the games. And, heaven help us, when one of the more experienced player's gets injured because it then becomes a shuffled deck as to who will play what position to cover.

But, despite the disadvantages, this team has shown a HUGE advantage.  

The leadership of the upperclassmen. 

With the encouragement and understanding of the coaches, as to the inexperience this team has, the senior boys, (including one who has never played), has kept their attitudes positive and have gone out of their way to work with and encourage the younger guys. 

And the boys who were so reluctant to to join the team initially are having fun. 

This has not gone unnoticed by the  parents.  Several parents wanted to make sure that the older boys knew that their positive outlook and attitude towards the new players was appreciated. So often we tend to only point out the negative and what can be improved versus commending the good and positive.

Yesterday, we commended the five seniors for the good and positive.  Goodie bags filled with fun goodies such as Lifesavers and Rolo candies with the tag "Thanks for being such good "ROLE" models", "Doughnut" we'd do without you" on the bag of doughnut holes, "High Five for a job well done" on a back of Five gum.  Bottles of GatorADE for the aide given and plastic Big League Baseballs filled with candy for being "big league leaders". 

 We have known, and The Toad has coached, four of these boys since grade school.  And the fifth? The Newest Kiddo that joined our family last year. We felt that a personal note to each boy was warranted.

Inside was the quote: 

"The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders"
--Vince Lombardi

I took this photo before the game started.  As I was walking out of the dugout to get a better angle, I overheard the Captain (one of the Senior boys) talking to the rest of the team.  His words?  "No matter what, let's have fun out there".

And then, he pulled them in for a team prayer.

Positive Teen Role Models.

After the game all five of those boys went to each parent and gave them a hug of thanks.

But that wasn't the best part. The best part was the discussion among next year's upperclassmen of needing to keep the positive attitude going for the new guys joining the team.

Positive Teen Role Models.


Dawn Barrett said...

what an amazing outlook for the the upper classman and the newbies! thanks for sharing your insights!

Stef H said...

this is one of your best posts. it has feeling, love and alot of depth. nice to know there are still great people out there and prayer is not dead. but then, with parents like you... they're all winners!

have a great week!

hugs :)

Sylvia said...

Congrats to those boys, Starla and everyone involved! You are all to be thanked for being role models for these children! You and your husband may be tired later, but the rewards will be reaped. As for your cards, they are beautiful. Have a blessed Sunday and a great week!

Melody (lacyquilter) said...

Kudos to a great group!

Micki said...

Crap I just replied to the newsfeed, well I am drinking as I'm preparing for work tomorrow. Ok now to retype,

I want to hug each of those guys. We definitely need more role models like that! The cards were gorgeous in a masculine way. I bet the guys loved them.

Gail Dixon said...

Starla, I got chills reading this post! This is such an uplifting story. What a wonderful group of boys, helping one another, and seeing the fruit of their labor blossoming into something really special. The world needs more stories like this published. The photo you took is fantastic!