Friday, March 27, 2020

Are high school athletes role models?

Riley Beem
By Matt Pascarella

I was reading an article on about the top 30 arguments and debates in sports and #1 was ‘should athletes be role models?’ I would phrase this differently to ‘are athletes role models? ’The article was talking about professional sports, and the writer’s answer was yes. But what about on a smaller scale? Are high school athletes role models?

My answer is yes. I think most high school athletes are examples to be admired, especially for the
younger kids and athletes. I see many elementary and middle school kids come to varsity games to watch the ‘bigger’ kids play. I think this means they already look up to and aspire to be these varsity players someday.

Being an athlete means you have to keep your grades up and that alone sets a good example for younger generations. Sports are fun, but academics should come first.

In Windham, many of the varsity teams help out the community and the younger athletes, by donating their time.

During the winter season, the boys and girls’ varsity basketball teams help out the elementary school
kids by assisting them in basketball drills on weekends.

Seniors Ivan Kaffel and Hannah Talon both won the Little Eyes Award last season, for demonstrating a commitment to youth in the community.

The football and lacrosse teams have a Leadership Council where the purpose is to set up what the expectations for the season as well as expectations in the community. The athletes set the tone as to what they want to see as teammates. Everyone has a say and coach Matt Perkins said the council has been a great way to get rid of negative actions and promote positive behaviors.

Emma Yale volunteered with an organization called ‘Farm to Table’ with Riley Beem and Lily Savard in November; Emma coached Little Lax (lacrosse) last spring, she helped set up at the craft fair; she volunteered at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Polar Express through Key Club. Yale participates in PowerServe, every year; which brings students, family members, and residents together to serve those in need in our community.

Last Spring, Ben Elliot was a volunteer assistant coach on a boys’ lax team which was pretty remarkable because he did it while his season was going on.

Former Windham athletes and alumni have come back to the town they grew up in and/or the school they graduated from to coach various sports in the community. There are many, but just to name a few: Chad Pulkkinen, class of 2002, was a star athlete and returned as the varsity boys’ basketball coach. Samantha Frost, class of 2014, and Stephanie Frost, class of 2012, played Windham Youth
Basketball when they were younger, as well as high school basketball and are now coaches with Windham Youth Basketball.

So, are high school athletes role models? Well, if you’re talking about Windham athletes, the answer is a resounding yes. And they’re going to continue giving back year after year.

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