By: Reegan Loveland
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a champion? Whether that is sacrificing hours for a sport, settling for nothing less than excellence, or even being a good sport. Everyday isn’t going to be perfect, when striving to be a champion there will be days of struggle and the willingness to quit, but the end goal is always the same.
The saying, “Play Like A Champion” hasn’t always been displayed near the main gym. This phrase was first copied from the Notre Dame football team. At Notre Dame before every football game, their team runs out of their locker room and hits this sign. This sign is a reminder to play hard and to remember that each practice and each game is all put towards becoming a champion. Ten to fifteen years ago, Grandville coaches came together and thought it would be a good idea to replicate this tradition. It is important as an athlete to be reminded of what it means to play like a champion. Devin Koetje, a basketball player at Grandville, says that this saying reminds him to “…strive to win, and play the best that we can.” Devin later said, “We hit it before a game just for fun and it helps us to all get hype.”
This simple saying has the ability to impact each player in so many different ways. Not all athletes at Grandville get to experience this tradition since it is only written above a door near the boys locker room. Mainly basketball players and cheerleaders come out from that hallway, so it would be interesting to see the impact on all athletes if this saying was implemented throughout every locker room, both male and female. When Cece Duffy, a cheerleader at Grandville, was asked what playing like a champion means to her she says, “it helps me to strive to reach my final goal, which is to be a champion.” Cece has hit this sign before and her lipstick marks are even on it. Cece along with other cheerleaders kiss their hand then hit the phrase while entering the gym so that their lipstick marks are above the door.
Mr. Parsons, the athletic director at GHS, says, “I think the biggest thing is, coaches will tell you we want you as an athlete to be ready to play. There is a lot going on, especially now with phones, try to focus on the pregame talk and let go; go get warmed up and get ready to play well…You’ve prepared hopefully leading up to that, and let’s go do what we do well.” This phrase’s purpose is to get athletes prepared for every game and every practice, and it serves its purpose well.
All athletes, whether they go to Grandville or not, can be reminded of what it’s like to play like a champion, and there is always going to be a different answer. Although the end goal always leads back to one word. Champion.