Sophomores Pay It Forward

When I walked into the gym yesterday to see who might be in there I was happy to see three of our freshmen, Haley Reynolds, Shannon Jackson, and Asia Jordan all working out. At one basket several cones were arranged in a tight diamond formation and Haley was working on her ball handling while Shannon and Asia were practicing back to the basket and face up post moves at another basket. All three players were completely drenched in sweat and had obviously been working very hard.

But what made me smile the most was watching the one player in the gym NOT working out - sophomore Deanna Tupai. Dee was moving back and forth between the two stations yelling out instructions and providing feedback after nearly every repetition. She looked - and sounded - like a real coach and the freshmen responded by continuing to work harder and harder.

No one slowed down when I walked in and started watching. Eventually Haley finished her ballhandling and started shooting jump shots both off the catch and off the dribble. Right about that time Samantha Thornton walked into the gym and immediately stepped out onto the court and helped Dee rebound for Haley. Not only did the two sophomores rebound and pass but they also constantly encouraged Haley to hold her follow through, stay on balance, keep her feet still, and concentrate. A couple hundred shots later, the workout finally ended and there were high fives all around.

Watching the whole experience unfold was a proud moment for me because it reflected the culture that we work so diligently to establish here at UCC; everyone looking after each other and all working hard to help make themselves and each other better. Dee and Sam didn't have to help the freshmen and the freshmen didn't have to listen to them. After all, they will undoubtedly never all be on the same team again. But the sophomores DID help and the freshmen DID listen and respond and in the end everyone was a little better than when they started.

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