Breaking the Stereotype

Below is an article that Ashley Abaloz wrote for her interpretive journalism class. The class is basically learning about writing editorials and opinion pieces for print pieces i.e. newspapers or magazines.

She is studying at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in her last semester so she'll graduate in December with a bachelors degree in Communication with a double focus in Journalism and Public Communication & Culture Studies. 
Ashley is the photographer - yearbook graphic artist for the Wyandotte football team in Michigan - a member of our SportsLeader association.
Hopefully one day Ashley will be a editor - publisher ...

Virtue = Strength,
Lou Judd

Breaking the Stereotype by Ashley Abaloz

There is a long-standing stereotype that football players are self-centered insensitive jocks, but over the past few years I have learned that this isn’t true for all teams and for some, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.  
The Wyandotte Bears football team is just like any other successful football team on the outside. 

They have consistently won games and earned league and district championships since head coach Ron Adams took over in 2006, but football is not the only focus of this team. 

In 2011, Ron began incorporating the SportsLeader program into Wyandotte football. According to the Sportsleader website, the program is described as “ a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches.”

The program focuses on virtues that are the motivation for the players each week. Throughout the season different virtues such as determined, relentless, enthusiastic and committed are focused on and discussed while preparing for their weekly games. 

Along with discussing these virtues, coaches also share personal stories about what it means to exemplify each of these virtues, incorporate them into their daily lives and how they will continue to impact them as they become young men and fathers. 

Now while all of these things sound great, the question I asked from the beginning was is this program working? Is this program making a difference?

The answer may surprise you. 

Not only are these programs impacting the boys involved, but they’re impacting the community around them. 

The football team participates in numerous community service activities with local elementary schools, young athletes and community spaces.   None of these activities are required, but the boys participate by choice.

Past players have also written testimonials about the impact the program has had on them, and the stories are incredible. 

Although this program may not affect all players in the same way, I think it is important to acknowledge that at least the coaches on this team are trying.

This is the only team that has incorporated this program in the Downriver League and I do not think it is a coincidence that this team has also won the most games in their league every season for the past few years.

Wyandotte is a perfect example of the weekly SportsLeader teachings on the virtue “Committed”.

This virtue is described as “Consistently doing what you are expected to do, while striving to do more than what is expected.”

We expect them to be self-centered insensitive jocks; they’re breaking the stereotype and proving us wrong.