It’s one thing to score points, touchdowns or goals. It’s another to be confident addressing bullying, sexual harassment or drug use.
Athletes are naturally in the spotlight, playing in front of crowds at stadiums, pools and gymnasiums. What Tacoma Public Schools did the past two days was get its high school student-athletes thinking beyond what they can do to affect the outcome of their competition to what they can do to affect their school’s and community’s cultures.
About 50 student-athletes from Tacoma’s five public schools – Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Stadium and Wilson – met at Baker Middle School on Wednesday and Thursday for the second annual Captains Council, where they discussed some of the biggest issues facing them today and how they can make a difference.
“I’ve done a couple of these and every group kind of takes on its own dynamic,” said Tacoma Public Schools athletic director Sam Reed, who ran and organized the event. “Some groups are quieter, some are more outgoing and you get people leading in different ways. This group was a very conscientious, well-spoken and thoughtful group and that kind of surprised me and got me excited.”
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They got a visit from Amanda Beard, the swimmer and seven-time Olympic medalist, who brought one of her gold medals on Wednesday.
The event included student-athletes from all kinds of sports, all nominated by their school’s athletic directors and coaches.
The first day included icebreakers, opening presentations and discussion of the roles, traits and impact of leaders. They ended the second day creating commercials that addressed bullying, drug use, eating disorders, sexual abuse, inappropriate use of social media and depression.
“Anytime you get this diverse a group together with this many people from this many people from this many sports and you get them talking about things that are not sports specific – they are not running a play, they are not doing a drill, they are talking bigger than wins and losses – we get some great stuff out of these kids,” Reed said. “It’s a pretty cool couple of days.”
The first day of the school year begins Sept. 9.