As student-athletes lace up their basketball sneakers, dancing shoes, cleats or skates, they all have one thing in common: They represent the red lion they wear on their uniforms. Their representation goes beyond what they do athletically, though. Several teams have been notably active in the community and have made an impact using the name of the school.
Recently, the boys basketball team helped donate money to an organization called Vs. Cancer.
“Two years ago, we started getting involved,” said English teacher and varsity head coach Mr. Quinn Hayes. “I learned about it because an old player who I grew up with had a father that worked for Vs. Cancer.”
The players raised an enormous amount of money.
“We raised eleven thousand dollars, which was six thousand more than expected,” said Mr. Hayes. “A number of players had taken it upon themselves to get as much money as they could which is great.”
The coaches kept the players motivated to help the cause and to represent their school community well.
Senior Patrick Schumacher believed that this reflected well upon the school.
“Our coaches kept telling us that this donation campaign was the most important thing that we would do all season, so we were motivated to raise as much money as possible,” said Schumacher.
“I think that Viator was represented in a great light because of this campaign,” Schumacher said. “It helped remind my teammates and I that there are people out there who would love to be in our position right now. To be a part of a movement that was bigger than ourselves was truly humbling and inspiring for the whole team.”
The basketball team is not the only one that has helped create a good name for the school. The dance team has also recently given back to the community in a tremendous way.
“The girls dance team supported a seven year old girl from Pittsburgh who has cancer. Because of this, they won the sports person of December,” explained athletic director Jason Kuffel ‘99.
“After hearing her story, we made cards for her and as a team, we said that we wanted to bring in gifts for her because we were truly touched by the story,” said sophomore dancer Lauren Spedale.
During her battle with cancer the team continued to support her.
“On the Friday that she was having surgery, we went to mass as a team,” said Spedale.
Because of their efforts, the team was recognized by the school and was awarded sports person of December. Through tools such as sports person of the month, the athletic department encourages community involvement for teams.
“The athletic department works with all the athletic teams to provide the opportunity for our students to give back to the Viatorian mission and values through the Viator way. This goes along with our S.T.R.I.V.E. acronym, especially the I that stands for igniting the community through actions of giving back and supporting the needs of communities,” said Kuffel.
The actions of the teams speak volumes to those not from the school.
“Our actions speak a great deal of who we are and we want to make sure we represent ourselves and our community in the most outstanding way possible. By doing that, we show how we differentiate ourselves and the experience our student-athletes have here at Saint Viator,” said Kuffel.
Moreover, sometimes representing the school well is not only done through actions in the community.
“I would say that athletes represent their school and team well by holding themselves to the highest standard,” said head strength and conditioning coach Alex Nadolna. “I believe that the approach they take to athletics should be applied to all areas of their life. I believe it is also important to recognize that participating in athletics is a privilege and that when you are an athlete you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Every decision you make not only reflects on you but one your teammates and coaches as well. Once you recognize that, the importance of holding yourself to the highest standard becomes clear.”
Nadolna has seen great examples of this in his job.
“I will say that the athletes I have had the pleasure of working with on a consistent basis are all great reflections of the school as well as their respective teams. Additionally, the coaching staff that I have worked with closely truly care about the well-being of our student-athletes and it is evident in working with them.”
In conclusion, teams stand for more than what shows in the wins and losses column. Rather, they show successes in how they display their school’s image through their actions, especially those in the community.