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Be a good teammate

I spend a lot of time around prep athletes in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

During the spring, I am in dugouts from Merry Hill to Pleasant Hill and everywhere in between.

In the fall, I spend time roaming the high school sidelines in football and volleyball and in basketball, it’s easy to hear the sights and sounds of the game when you’re sitting on the endline as I do.

One thing I’ve noticed in the last several years is the declining role of being a good teammate.

I was thinking back to the years I’ve covered sports and thinking about some of the players who have gone through this area and the way they played the game.

As I was thinking on those teams in the past, one name that came to mind was that of Brad White. He was a point guard for Lawrence Academy some 10 years ago.

Brad was one of my favorite players back in the day because he pushed his team hard, but never felt like he had to have his name in the newspaper or even the box score.

He knew his job was feed the ball to those who did score and play the best defense of anyone on the floor.

Brad was an example of a good teammate to me.

Another one I thought of was Bertie High School graduate Amy Mizell, who as I said a few weeks ago, I coached. She was hardheaded and tough, but she was a great teammate.

When a player needed a kick in the backside, she gave it to them. When they needed encouragement, she was right there with it.

More recently Kathryn Vick and Caitlin Lowe, both of whom played at Ridgecroft, were terrific teammates.

I never saw either one of them try to do something to grab glory for themselves. In both cases, it was all about the team. They didn’t care about being All-State or any other individual honor they wanted to win.

Another more recent example was Titus Lee at Northampton County High School – West.

Lee was the best running back in the area as far as production and worked harder than most to get several individual honors. He could have been proud of himself and stopped working hard, but he never did.

Because of his hard work and leadership skills, he was a good teammate and was one of the reasons the Hurricanes made it to Winston-Salem.

The reason I brought up this whole issue of being a good teammate is because of some of the alarming changes I’ve seen in recent years in prep athletics.

More and more I’ve seen high school athletics come to be like the pros as players worry more about their own statistics than the results for the team.

High school sports should teach us something about life. They should be a way of working together as a team and accomplishing a goal.

Despite what some people have come to believe, prep athletics is not about playing the most minutes, scoring the most points or even having your picture in the paper the most times.

Some players don’t want to be part of a team. They want to be an individual playing a team sport. They want to do their thing and not listen to the coach or their fellow players.

They aren’t people I want my son to follow after. They aren’t people I hope make it big time.

The players I remember the most over the years may not have been the ones with the most athletic talent. Some of those are behind bars and digging ditches because of their lack of social skills.

It’s the people who learned to work together and learned to be part of a group that have gone on to be doctors, lawyers and heads of industry. Being a good teammate when you’re in high school translates to being a good teammate later in life.

Those people who can sacrifice for the team and work for the team will make better spouses, better co-workers and better people in general.

Being a good teammate requires a special person, but is something that can be achieved by anyone. I’d love to see more of them in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome. You can reach me at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.