How do players at Athens feel about their sports?


Photos by Lila-Renaé McAuley

A promotive inspirational poster in Athens’ senior hallway. Many students walk by and glance at this poster daily.

The Athens Drive sports program has a diverse group of students who take part in strengthening the school’s athletics. From short to tall and bold to helping on the sidelines, Athens players are different in every way. One thing that differs from one athlete to the next is how they feel about their area of expertise.

Football is a rough and tactile sport, and coaches are a huge part of the experience. Training and backing their teams, every game rides on their ability to masterfully perfect their players. At big games, the pressure can be intense for them. A coach has to have a positive attitude and a winning mindset.

“Throughout the year, there were many lessons learned through games lost or mistakes in the school building. Every day we work towards being the best version of ourselves, and carrying our weight to move the team forward,” said Tommy Smith, Athens football coach.

A team needs to rely on not just their coach, but also each other. Putting their arms together and pulling through for victory is what makes a team true. Some players may have bad days, but their teammates will lift them up and walk them to the end zone.

“We would head out to tournaments, fight our hardest, and the goal was the trophy.” Richard Collins, freshman wrestler.

Football isn’t the only sport that needs a good team to be victorious. Wrestling takes a strong group of people who can train each other. Players have to keep a sharp, determined mindset to shrink their opponents down. Having a clear goal, like a trophy, can help a team work better together too.

“It got hard sometimes, but I really enjoyed it. My teammates were pretty cool and we had a lot of fun. Richard Collins, freshman wrestler.

With a sport like wrestling, it’s important for a team to be there for each other. Friendship and sportsmanship are key here, but in soccer, the same thing can be said.

“I like the sport, and it’s really fun. Our coaches were hard on us at times but it taught us to become better than we already were,” John Doe, freshman soccer player.

Soccer is an exhilarating sport. When players are running, kicking and diving, it’s hard for them to control how their body feels. A good practice gets the heart pumping, and sometimes an athlete can feel less spirited when they can’t seem to work hard enough. Coaching will get tough, but the team’s best interest is always in mind.

A coach takes the experiences and plays of their team to shape their players into great young athletes. A win is a success in strategy, but a loss is just as important too. Seeing a mistake or checking in on the players helps lead them to greatness into the future.

“I don’t have a worst coaching experience. These are all lessons for me to learn and perfect my craft,” said Tommy Smith, football coach.