In Bill Broderick’s piece, Lakeview program helps leaders (BattleCreekEnquirer.com), he details Lakeview’s noteworthy attempt to attack athletic code violations before they occur – through leadership training.
After revising their athletic code the school garnered the services of Dennis O’Sullivan (AAI Vice President for Professional and College Development) to help train approximately “50 of its top student-athletes” on what leadership is truly all about. In this training Mr. O’Sullivan stresses that being a leader, or captain, is much more than just calling the coin toss before a game or leading warm-ups, that becoming a “true leader” includes accepting the “responsibility to take people in a certain direction,” a positive direction.
His goal – to give student athletes the skills needed in order to take on this responsibility and, hopefully, circumvent the poor character choices that accompany breaking the athletic code. And as a former NFL player and captain of the “1998 undefeated Tulane University football team that finished ranked No. 7 in the country,” he certainly knows a little bit about leadership and what it can bring to an athletic program and a school’s student body.
As O’Sullivan states:
“A good leader is the difference between a great season and a good season. I’ve worked with teams before where they were 12-0 in one year, graduated one individual and they go .500 the next year. That leader that graduated kept everyone together and then all of a sudden the lunatics took over the asylum and things fall apart.”
With regard to the leadership program, he said:
“We know the program works. We get e-mails and cards and letters all the time from students saying thank you so much for helping us change the way we think about things, change the way we do things. We got our team to jog as a team or, we got our team to stop drinking or doing drugs, that’s the response we get, so we know we are making an impact.”
I congratulate Lakeview High School on taking such a progressive step toward trying to build a solid foundation of character in its athletes. In essence, that is what education and school should really be all about, right? – Making a difference!!!