UNION, NJ – Winter sport coaches and team captains from high schools across the county attended the UCC Winter Sportsmanship Workshop at Union High School on Wednesday evening in preparation for the upcoming regular season.
The Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the governing body of high school sports in the county, held the event with coaches and captains from basketball, bowling, ice hockey, swimming, track & field and wrestling present.
Prior to the event, Union High School senior and basketball player Jon Green said he’s hoping to hear what it takes to be a good athlete, on and off the field. “Basically, don’t do anything dumb,” he said. “Be a good person.”
During the first half of the program, held in Union High’s auditorium, Scotch Plains Athletic Director Ryan Miller spoke about leadership. “Leadership is about character,” he said. “It’s about who you are inside and who you want to be.”
Speaking to the students, Miller said, “you have something the coaches saw that says you are a leader.” However, he continued, everyone on the team is responsible to help others. “Everyone needs to be able to lift someone up when the chips are down,” he said.
Miller said two important rules players should live by are: "Don't do anything to get your name in the papers for a negative reason," and "Make Wednesday the best day of the week, then make Thursday the best day, then Friday. Make everyday the best day."
Breakout sessions by sport were held afterwards. Executive Director of the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Tom Lewis spoke to the basketball players and coaches. “We are the best county in the state for basketball,” he said. “Neighboring counties are not even close to what we bring to the table.”
The single most important thing for players, Lewis said, is to learn and understand the rules. “You should play intense and you should play hard,” he continued. “But you should understand it is a team deal.”