Football: Growing young men
By BRANDON HURLEY
When wins and losses on the gridiron are supplanted by victories on the street, Mitch Moore knows a job is well done.
The Greene County football program has immersed itself fully in volunteer work, compiling hundreds of hours of community service throughout the summer.
It’s an initiative new head coach Mitch Moore has a strong passion for. He believes a Greene County Ram is much more than a football player, they are leaders in the community.
Volunteer work - 400 hours to be exact - is an exceptional way to connect with the communities throughout Greene County. Though the games are played Friday nights in Jefferson, the county owns the team, he said.
Moore is uniting the various Greene County communities via hard work while pushing his players to give back.
The Ram athletes poured in 250 hours community service alone in the month of June, doing anything from working with Habitat for Humanity and even helping residents move large objects. Giving back builds character and builds a fan base more than any championship ever could, Moore feels.
The Greene County rebuild starts in the trenches.
“I told our guys, the stands aren’t going to be full because you’re benching 300 pounds or you’ve got the best squat in the state,” Moore said. “They’re going to be full because you’re getting out in your community, taking pride in your community and helping others.”
Community service, coach Moore said, is a necessary characteristic for blossoming young adults. Football can only do so much to shape a young mind. Getting involved with the fans, friends and family members that support them will only help the players grow.
“You’re showing (the community) you’re a valued community member, and that’s what’s going to fill our stands on Friday nights,” Moore said. “Our kids have done a fantastic job, and I’m more than sure that members of this community are going to show up in flocks on Friday night to support these guys. They deserve it, they’ve done a lot of great work in the community and it’s neat to see.”
The Greene County students have been busy off the gridiron this summer. They helped set up barricades for the Bell Tower Festival in June, stepped up as fill-in movers for a resident that needed a piano re-situated and even did the dirty work, cleaning up trash and storage units.
“We are doing anything we can to help people in this community with things that that they might need help with,” the coach said. “Getting our kids out in our community and showing them community services is what keeps a community flowing.”
He’s had little trouble motivating the players, either. They’ve jumped at the chance to give back. It’s trickled down through the different athletic programs as well.
“Since taking over this program as a head coach and as an AD, the willingness of these kids to get out and do community service work has been just unbelievable to me,” Moore said. “They’ve responded like I thought they would. but they’ve taken a real sense of pride in doing it. They are prideful. They know they are sort of the community service group in this community right now, and they enjoy doing it, so that’s been really neat.”
Moore posts specific time slots for different activities each week on the board. The athletes fill them without any extra encouragement. They want to help.
“I haven’t had to ask twice one time,” Moore said. “The kids just are really dedicated and volunteer their time to the community. That’s been the neatest thing to me.”
Greene County has brought practice to the masses as well. The Rams practiced in Grand Junction on Friday night, Aug. 11, Churdan Tuesday and head to Scranton on Thursday. The head coach wants the fans to connect with the players.
“It’s a chance for people in the community to come see us practice. It’s been good for these kids that live in those towns, too,” Moore said. “They see how we care about those other towns, and we want to support you guys.”
Off-the-field investments are just one of the many stepping stones Moore will call on in the future as the Rams work to build a dynasty. Wins will come if they put in the time and effort. If Moore sets the example, the players will follow, and hopefully, so will the titles. The cleaning, the concession stand, the barricades, the sprints, the passing drills, they all tie together.
“The power of the mind and believing in our culture and believing in what we’re doing. I said it from the beginning, culture wins championships,” Moore said. “Culture beats scheme. We can do all the things we want and have a great schematic coaching staff, but it’s the culture that’s going to win this a games in the fourth quarter.”