Valley football players spend an afternoon cleaning campus as a service to the community.
By Kevin Buckles Jr., Sports Editor
The Valley College football team left their pads, helmets, and cleats behind Thursday afternoon as they tackled campus cleanup.
After concluding practice, the 3-2 Monarchs split up into three groups, gathered up trash bags, and circled the entire school to pick up any trash or debris that they spot on the ground.
“We are just trying to do a good deed,” said freshman linebacker Jahdiel Lane. “We want to represent our team well off the field too.”
The idea for a campus cleanup derived from Head Coach Juan Navarro and his time spent coaching at universities in the past, according to the team’s strength and conditioning coach James Sims.
“Coach [Navarro] comes from a lot of Division I schools like Miami (Fla.) and FIU (Florida International University), where the teams did a lot service in the community,” said Sims. “He’s just passing down the love he learned there, to us at Valley.”
About 80-90 players participated in the half-hour effort, and the exuberant bunch made the most out of what most would deem a tedious task.
The team laughed, joked, and enjoyed each others’ company all while picking up seemingly every piece of litter in sight, even approaching students, asking if they needed to dispose their trash for them.
“During a bye [week], it’s always nice to get guys healthy and fresher, but we like to see it as an opportunity to come together as a team,” said Navarro. “When you have a team compiled of guys from 27 different states that haven’t been around each other for that long, you have to find a way to mesh and this is a great way.”
The head coach mentioned that the exercise would not only build camaraderie within his team, but character as well.
“We are all members of this community too, so for our guys it can build ownership and awareness. They can be on campus and remember this day and see a piece of paper on the ground and pick it up.”
The deed also serves as a way to pay homage to the school for their support and funding for the football program along with endorsing the product they put out on the field, according to Navarro.
“It’s a way to invite people to embrace our program,” said Navarro, “…and a way to say a big thank you to our institution by giving back to our community.”