This past week we had a Sports Award Ceremony for the girls’ soccer, coed softball, and the track and field teams.
Excited athletes and their families gather in the cafeteria, placing their contribution to the banquet on the prepared tables. Food dishes from an assortment of countries supply the feast. Several students search for their favorite, the sushi plate that appears at every awards ceremony. Crock Pots loaded with aromatic meals, nachos, an assortment of casseroles, and a variety of salads tempt the attendees.
Athletes sit with their teams and coaches while parents find friends at the “family tables”. The standard “drawing” takes place to see which team is privileged to approach the banquet table first. The Track and Field Team cheers leaping to their feet and jumping eagerly towards the food. The rest of the teams shuffle through and then the parents join the line. With plates loaded, each enjoys a dinner before the awards ceremony.
The traditional cupcakes circulate the tables before we all enter the gymnasium and find a seat. A music-accompanied slide show commences the ceremony. Every single athlete is featured. Then each coach stands and highlights the season as well as every member of the team. The coaches know the individual athletes and speak fondly of each one. Then they announce the coaches’ awards. Athletes are celebrated. Smiles abound. Parents cheer. Each team captain also delivers a short speech thanking the coach and presenting him/her with a gift of appreciation. It’s clear the students and coaches truly admire each other.
As I’ve written before, as a teacher I enjoy the individual attention I can give to each student at our small school. After this awards assembly it strikes me that the personalized experience extends into athletics as well.
It’s just so personal. And, again it is confirmed why I love the small school setting.