Community builds character

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Growing up, I remember my father watching every sport that happened to be broadcast on the television. In the winter, he watched college basketball. In the spring and summer, he didn't miss a Cardinals game. Then, fall came. Fall activities were centered around football. My dad loves high school, college and professional football. I was never much of an athlete, but in junior high school, I learned the ins and outs of football. Then, I started watching the games with my dad. Football was exciting. Football was fun, and football was something I shared with my dad.

Later, I married a football fan. My husband also watches professional games and college matches, but his passion is high school football. He couldn't wait to attend Cassville's season opening football game last Friday night. During the game, I decided to walk around the track and get some snap shots of the large crowd, the cheerleaders and the band. Before halftime, I learned that not only was the Cassville community celebrating the beginning of high school football season, but area residents were also there to recognize members of the local Mighty Mite program, which offers a football and cheer program for third through sixth grade students.

In the past, I have always been amazed to hear parents, coaches and fans remark on the character of Cassville High School football team members. I always thought that Coach David Large and his coaching staff could be credited with helping the young men develop good sportsmanship skills and respect for other players, coaches and community members. Although I still believe that Coach Large and his staff help inspire these students to show integrity on and off the field, I know that Cassville students are learning these quality traits much younger.

As members of the junior football and cheerleading program waited for their opportunity to walk across the field and be honored as Mighty Mite participants, they giggled and chatted, but they remained in their designated area. They listened to directions when an adult addressed them, and they showed respect for one another and other fans who lined the field around them. The young cheerleaders even worked to learn a new cheer that was given to them only minutes before the halftime program started. These youngsters reminded me that Cassville parents, educators and coaches are all committed to teaching local youth the skills they will need to become respectful high school students and later, ideal citizens.

I believe that one of Cassville's greatest assets is its friendly community, and I'm proud to know that Cassville will retain that asset well into the future. I know area people learn the importance of sportsmanship and good character in all of the youth sports programs and student organizations offered in our community. On Friday night, not only did the high school football players and cheerleaders display good sportsmanship, members of the Cassville Mighty Mite program also showcased our community's character by displaying pride, respect and integrity as they orderly crossed the high school football field with broad smiles on their faces.

Lindsay Reed