McKenzie comes out for student athletes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The world of sports is about more than simply winning: it’s also accepting a challenge with no guarantees and being willing to work together for the common good.

That was one of the life lessons speaker Dr. Charlie Gibbons, a professor at AUM and Alabama State, shared with student athletes, faculty members and guests Thursday night in McKenzie.

The occasion was McKenzie High School’s Annual All-Sports Banquet, an event &uot;truly for the students,&uot; MHS Principal Randy Williams told the crowd.

Awards and special recognition were given to student athletes in the arenas of cheerleading, football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, baseball and softball.

Gibbons, introduced by friend and former student, MHS Coach Cindy Lowe, said Lowe was the kind of student &uot;who is dedicated, who does what she is supposed to do and who likes to get it right.&uot;

&uot;That’s the kind of student you like to have,&uot; Gibbons said.

Gibbons encouraged his audience to be like Lowe and consider the game worth playing &uot;even when you never win.&uot;

&uot;You hope you will win, but also you must accept the possibility you may lose…life is not easy, but remember, you are learning every time you take the field or court.&uot;

There are many important lessons you can take home from involvement in athletics, Gibbons said.

&uot;You learn a lot about yourself…you learn if you stick with a challenge, things change and do get better,&uot; he added.

Sports are also a great way to learn how to &uot;work together for a common goal,&uot; Gibbons said.

&uot;During the time of integration, we had to learn how to work together for the common good, in spite of our differences – color doesn’t matter.&uot;

Society has rules and laws, and sports participation helps teach the importance of obeying rules, Gibbons said.

&uot;It is also a great way to develop leadership skills. Look at many of our great presidents – they played sports. They learned valuable life lessons from that.

&uot;Some of you will go on to be leaders in your community or profession, because you have learned about the sacrifices you sometimes have to make to accomplish your goals.&uot;

He reminded those present Lowe had worked hard over the years to build the girls’ basketball team to its area championship status this year.

&uot;In the beginning, things weren’t wonderful. But Coach Lowe hung in there; she didn’t give up. Life will challenge you, I promise you that. Don’t ever give up.&uot;

Following a steak dinner courtesy of the McKenzie Quarterback Club, the awards and recognitions ceremony got underway.

Cheerleaders Tia Bush was awarded Best School Spirit and LaRonica Peterson, Most Cooperative, by cheerleader sponsor Amanda Jones.

In the sport of football, Mitch Bozeman was selected Most Valuable Player and recipient of the Ironman Award.

Ethan Davis took home the Most Improved Award and Jonathan Bush was selected for Outstanding Performance.

In boy’s basketball, Most Valuable Player went to Rhett Lowe, Most Improved, Jamie Henderson and Curtis Ball was chosen Mr. Hustle.

In Lady Tigers’ softball, Ashley Godwin took home Best Bat, Tia Bush was selected Best Infielder; Ashley Williams was Best Outfielder; Jordan Smith, Most Improved; Kenzie Lee, Rookie of the Year; Nicky Lee, Coach’s Award, and Kaylyn Brown took home the Lady Tiger Award. Ashley Godwin and Rebecca Sanford shared Most Valuable Player status.

The Lady Tigers’ basketball team shared an award with their coach, Cindy Lowe, in celebration of their area championship status.

Akeia Owens earned Most Valuable Player status; Amber Rudolph was selected Most Improved Player; Carrena Davison, Best Offensive Player; LaSha Pitts, Best Defensive Player; LaRonica Peterson, Hustle Award; Carrena Davison, Best Free Throw Average (64 percent) and Most Points Scored (364 pts.).

The Coach’s Award went to Tia Bush and Candis Davison.

Each of the Tiger baseball team members were awarded a custom-printed Tiger shirt for all being &uot;most valuable players,&uot; Coach Eartis Lee said.

Coach Miles Brown, emcee for the evening, praised the QB Club for preparing a &uot;fantastic steak dinner.&uot;

&uot;This is the fourth school I have been in, and the first steak I have ever had at a sports banquet.

Editor's note: McKenzie sports banquet photos will appear in Saturday's edition of The Greenville Advocate.