MISD athletes take character to heart in camp lessons

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A team that has won two state championships in the last five years must have a foundation which is the bedrock for building the program. Certainly, the talent pool has to be there, but in girls high school basketball, even talent has to be developed.

The difference, said Summit head coach Tammy Lusinger, is an element the entire Mansfield ISD athletic department is promoting.

The 23 Character Lessons which are taught to athletes during the course of the year are making an impression.

The goal is to begin to instill elements the athletes can internalize, apply and develop in themselves as they progress throughout their high school years and beyond.

The presentation of the various lessons is taught in 10-minute installments by the respective coaches, and although the students won’t always have immediate comments, the lessons are brought up every now and then, Lusinger said.

“We started using the Character Lessons in 2009, the year we won state,” Lusinger said. “We used one of the lessons as a theme for that year. It had to do with the team pulling on the same rope. If you were hanging off a cliff and had just a rope to hold onto, you’d want your teammates on the other end of that rope.”

Summit also collected a state title in 2012 and was regional semifinalists this season.

Lusinger feels the lessons are taking hold.

“The juniors and seniors start realizing a different view of things,” Lusinger explained. “They start to have focus on the lesson and start having goals.”

Among the lessons are integrity, teamwork, attitude, commitment, dealing with adversity, leadership and dealing with failure.

For junior guard Keanna Kelly, two lessons in particular seem to resonate most to her.

“The lessons on attitude and commitment will get you far in life,” she said. “And, on the court, it can come into play, too.”

Kelly said the impact of having a good attitude have a domino effect.

“And, if you commit yourself, you can push harder and harder and you stick to one another,” Kelly added.

Leadership will come even more into play for Kelly as she prepares for her senior year.

“My focus has been on leadership by playing by example. But as a senior, I’ll need to focus more on being a bit more of a vocal leader, too,” Kelly said.

When Summit conducts its summer basketball camps from June 10-13 for the girls and June 17-20 for the boys, Lusinger said part of the curriculum could possibly be on the agenda, to start the learning process early. The character lessons aren’t just for the girls.

Terrance Hubby, the sophomore Jaguar power forward, said the one segment-a-week program has already made an impression on him and his teammates.

“Leadership and honesty come to mind for me,” Hubby said. “Those really teach about tendencies and how to lead a group, even as a sophomore.”

The impact carries over onto the court.

“Yes, they do help keep us calm, and we can regain composure,” Hubby said of harkening to lessons on overcoming adversity and others.

Hubby, who has been playing basketball since the age of 5, said although the district emphasizes the same list of 23 lessons each year, the athletes develop a deeper understanding each year.

“We definitely pick up more each year as we mature and are able to adapt to ourselves more as we get older,” Hubby said.

The Jaguars lost to John Tyler in the first round of the playoffs this year, but Hubby expects his teammates to exhibit the character traits more and more on the court.

“We’ll show it more on the court,” Hubby said, adding that high school boys are more inclined to put the attributes into play on the court rather than discussing it amongst themselves outside the locker room.

Lusinger said if two or three players are touched with the message, it is all worthwhile.

The Summit basketball camps are still open to participants, with next year’s grades 1-5 in Session 1 from 8:30 a.m.-noon and next year’s grades 6-9 in Session II from 1-4:30 p.m.

Because of gym renovations, the morning sessions will be held at Aca Low Middle School, with the afternoon sessions at Wester Middle School for the girls.

Interested participants can contact Lusinger at TammyLusinger@MISDmail.org for the girls camp or boys head coach Jason Mutterer for the boys at 817-453-0840 or 817-299-7487. Walk-ups will be accepted on opening day for each camp. Cost is $75.

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