Editor's Note: TAPinto New Providence will feature New Providence High School senior athletes in a spotlight series to be published in random order . Seniors, click here for form.
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- New Providence spring athletes in the Class of 2020 never had a chance to participate in the final season of their high school careers, but they had a chance to hear words of encouragement from a motivational speaker on Monday.
New Providence athletic director Vinny Carangelo introduced Gian Paul Gonzalez, a former college basketball player and a motivational speaker for the New York Giants, to participating senior athletes on a Zoom meeting Monday afternoon.
New Providence High School closed its doors for the school year in mid-March, corresponding with the declaration of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Two weeks ago, the NJSIAA confirmed that the entire spring sports season would be canceled statewide.
A former NCAA First Team All-American basketball player at Montclair State University, an NBA Summer League Player, and a motivator for the Super Bowl champion 2011 Giants, Gonzalez originated the "All In" slogan the Giants adopted en route to the championship that season.
"All In is about staying committed and being resilient," Gonzalez told the New Providence athletes in the Zoom meeting. Gonzalez spoke of a time when he dislocated his ankle playing basketball in high school, then rehabilitating for nine months before going on to a successful career at Montclair State.
Gonzalez stressed to the Pioneer athletes the importance of gratitude.
"We can sit around and say there's not a lot to be grateful for," Gonzalez said. "Our natural state is ungrateful. Just stay grateful. Take a minute to check ourselves.
"What if we took the time to say 'thank you'?" Gonzalez said. "Never miss an opportunity to say thank you. For the person you say thank you to, it becomes the best part of their month or their year."
Carangelo acknowledged to the students that being stripped of the chance to compete in their senior seasons "breaks all of our hearts." But the New Providence AD tried to frame the loss in positive terms.
"Think back on the times you did have and the bonds you formed with your teammates," Carangelo said. "Those things are forever; they can't get taken away. Maybe now, it does show you how much it meant to you--more than you may have ever realized. I know this has been so hard for you guys. Things are going to get better, [and] whatever we can do to celebrate you guys, we're trying our best."