As a former football player at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said his coaches asked a pivotal question.
"How can we win if we don't play as a team?”
Teamwork was a key message of Tuscaloosa City Schools' inaugural Athletics Summit Thursday night, an event to introduce the sports and character curriculum “Elevate” to student athletes.
The event featured cheerleaders from schools throughout the system pumping up the hundreds of athletes from all TCS sports and their parents with a cheer. The marching band from Paul W. Bryant High was also on-hand to show off their skills. TCS District Coordinator of Athletics Anthony Harris listed individual and team accomplishments by the more than 2,000 city school athletes during the 2015-16 school year. He also praised the coaches for their hard work and commitment to their student-athletes.
Success, for a student-athlete, means being in the glaring spotlight on or off the field or court.
“Life is a full-time interview,” said Dana Duckworth, University of Alabama gymnastics coach.
Duckworth, a coach whose team posted the highest cumulative GPA among all SEC gymnastics teams, encouraged student athletes to strive to be their best.
UA Athletic Chaplain Scotty Hollins told students they had the most to gain or lose over their own successes and failures. He encouraged coaches and parents to push students in the right direction.
As student athletes, Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria impressed upon students their position in the school can provide an example to classmates.
"You are a role model,” Daria said.
School starts Aug. 11.