Plant City High School’s winter teams showed the community what they’re all about on Nov. 11.
Plant City High School’s parents, students and fans got a chance to get some face time with athletes on Nov. 11.
The school hosted its Winter Sports Night in the gymnasium that evening as way to strengthen the connection between its athletes and the community. Members of both basketball teams, the wrestling team, the competitive cheerleading team and the girls soccer team introduced themselves to the audience, performed demonstrations and, in the soccer team’s case, play a quick game with students from the bleachers.
“It was great just seeing parents and everyone come together to support one another,” basketball coach Calvin Callins said.
The event was sponsored by the Improvement League of Plant City, Raider Champions and Safe and Sound Hillsborough County. It also featured speeches from athletic director Tim Leeseberg and Plant City Family YMCA executive director Zach Hilferding, and Mayor Rick Lott also came out to support the teams.
It was put together by girls basketball head coach Danny McIntyre, who also works with Safe and Sound, as a way to get the athletes more connected with the Plant City community.
“It’s creating accountability to the community,” McIntyre said. “I don’t know how you win without it. That’s a recipe for success.”
McIntyre said the intended effect of Winter Sports Night is twofold: to help Raider athletes better communicate and connect with people, and to give younger children people they can look up to as role models. To further drive the point home, any children in eighth grade and below got a free event t-shirt with “Make the Right Decision” printed on the back in bold letters. The phrase, McIntyre said, is meant to get future Raiders thinking about making good choices in life and reaping the benefits later.
“At the end of the day, if you’re not a good citizen with good grades, you don’t get to be in our program … we want the kids to tell the younger generation, ‘You’ve got to make the right choices now,’ because one bad choice, one bad decision means you’re not allowed to participate in these types of events,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre said the school plans to repeat the event for the upcoming spring sports season and for the 2018-19 fall sports season.
Boys basketball head coach Billy Teeden said the event gave his players an opportunity to hang out and have some fun with their fellow Raider athletes they normally don’t get, which they were grateful for.
“We all are family,” Callins said. “We’re supporting one another and hoping that all of us, as a Raider family, do well in our sports, academics and achieving great success.”