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Athletic conference highlights character

“The first step to being a great player is having a great team,” Bruce Brown said at the second annual Character Conference at Fresno Pacific University on Oct. 5. Brown is a special presenter for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Champions of Character program.

As seven student leadership students took notes, they learned the importance of participation and coaching a team. As Brown and Bill Walsh, legendary San Francisco 49ers head coach, shared, thoughts raced around in the students’ minds as they listened.

“Commitment weeds out the uncommitted,” Brown said. “Always do your best and you will feel rewarded.”

Brown mainly focused on the four fundamental things that make a great team. Team members need to know where they stand, and everyone must be committed. They must be able to tell where they are and the team’s actions must reflect their commitment.

Ericlee Gilmore, student leadership adviser, described the athletic conference as a vital part of leadership.

“The conference is to influence and coach better athletes,” Gilmore said. “It also helped athletes become leaders and captains.” Over 700 high school athletes and coaches from Bakersfield to Merced attended the conference.

Brown also spoke on what sets apart the most valuable play from the most valuable teammate.

“The most significant thing an athlete can do is to develop the skills to do your job,” Walsh said. “Every athlete learns differently, and you should play the role you are given the best that you can.”

Both speakers emphasized that athletes must develop confidence and communication with their team. They should also be in proper physical condition and the fundamentals have to be automatic.

“As a team you should make an identity,” Gilmore said. “You have to have a team leader to help communication through your team.”

Walsh discussed his opinions on other important facts about teamwork besides communication.

“Character is also a key thing to have on your team,” Walsh said. “Always be honest and supportive with your team.” Walsh’s theme for his talk was “The Perfect Blend of Teamwork and Selfless Team Play.”

Leadership students say it was a learning experience for them. After both speakers finished, students were glad that they attended the conference.

“It was better than I expected,” Samantha Krikorian, ’08, said. ” I thought it would be really boring. I never realized how much there was to being a team.”

To conclude the conference, Walsh spoke about mental attitude.

“After the conference I felt inspired to do my best to be a better athlete,” Andrew Kaiser, ’05, said. “A lot had to do with my attitude. And I’m going to do my best in positions of leadership; it was a valuable opportunity to hear what great coaches had to say.”

For more information about the conference, go to http://athletics.fresno.edu/sunbirdsports/aboutus/news/9_29_04_bill_walsh_to%20fpu.html or contact Gilmore at [email protected] or the high school office at 299-1695, ext. 5.

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