Extreme sports impact students
Southwest R-V School District students enjoyed a special back-to-school assembly on Aug. 20. The school hosted the Springfield organization Real Encounter, which uses freestyle motocross, skateboarding and extreme stunts to teach students life lessons.
The Real Encounter assembly, "Extreme Impact," began with program director Brad Bennett bursting into the Southwest High School gymnasium on a roaring motocross bike. As the crowd of junior high and high school students cheered, Bennett turned the motorcycle around and rode a wheelie across the gym floor.
Bennett, a former professional motocross racer, developed the program by relating motocross disciplines to life lessons, which the Real Encounter team members share with audiences of all ages.
"Motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world," Bennett said after stepping off his motocross bike. "It requires strict training. If you want to make an extreme impact in life, you need to go into strict training."
Bennett told the students to train by exercising their minds and focusing on positive activities.
"If you put garbage in your mind, it is going to affect your choices in life," said Bennett.
For the second part of the assembly, Bennett introduced flatland freestyle skateboarder Brett Moser. Flatland freestyle skating involves tricks that are performed without the use of ramps, rails or other obstacles. Moser practices his skating skills two to three hours each day.
"The more time you are on the board the easier it gets," said Moser. "If you are trying to learn something like a 360 flip, it can take months of practice to perfect."
In addition to training, the Extreme Impact assembly asked students to know the obstacles at hand.
"When you make bad choices, those bad choices become your obstacles," said Bennett. "The choices you make can take you closer to or farther away from where you want to be tomorrow."
Brent Longenecker demonstrated how to physically overcome obstacles by balancing upside down on an eight-foot stack of metal chairs. He also climbed a free standing ladder and performed a series of acrobatics.
During all of the performances, Bennett asked the young audience members to encourage the athletes by applauding and cheering. At the end of the show, Bennett explained the importance of encouragement.
"You need to surround yourself with people who believe in you," said Bennett. "Those people could be other competitors, coaches or your parents. They will support and encourage you in football, basketball and life in general.
"We all want encouragement but we don't always give encouragement because we are too focused on ourselves," said Bennett. "When we are focused on our own needs, it is hard to see the needs and hurts of those around us. If you really want to make an extreme impact, you need to reach out to others, which will not only make your life different but theirs as well."
Bennett concluded the Extreme Impact assembly by using his motocross bike to jump over Southwest High School Principal Brad Clark, Superintendent Doug Lawyer and several other school staff members.
On Aug. 20, the Southwest School District also hosted a school assembly for elementary school students and an evening performance that was open to the entire community.
Real Encounter Extreme Impact assemblies also address the negative impact of bullies and show how one student can have a positive impact on their school by demonstrating a positive attitude and personal integrity.