The Southerner

Team captains serve as leaders and role models

South men’s basketball captains Isaiah Wilson and Mahari Wilson participate in the coin toss prior to a recent game. against Edison. Coach Joe Hyser feels that a captian’s job is to be a leader and spokesperson for the team.

Erika Roedl

South men’s basketball captains Isaiah Wilson and Mahari Wilson participate in the coin toss prior to a recent game. against Edison. Coach Joe Hyser feels that a captian’s job is to be a leader and spokesperson for the team.

Erika Roedl, Web/News Editor

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You’re team captain. You get a star on your jacket and you can now put the title on that college application. However, there are rewards and responsibilities to being a captain that aren’t immediately apparent.

 “People look up to you,” said junior Ellen Sachs.

As a captain on the volleyball team, Sachs is responsible for helping plan fundraisers and team bonding time. One perk, however, is that she has a say in what drills the team does at practices.

On the volleyball team, captains are chosen by a player vote, but the coach has the final say. According to Sachs, captains are picked based on work ethic, who showed up the most to practices, leadership skills, and being positive.

Senior Elijah Ellison, former football captain said that the captain also needs to “be able to get people’s attention, be able to focus other people’s attention,” and in some cases, with the younger players, “getting people to care. 

On the football team, the players pick their own captians. If you want to be captain, you have to be a “likable person” Ellison said, “it’s kind of a popularity contest.”

Junior Kirk Atwater, who has been on the varsity football team since his sophomore year, said that after he found out he wouldn’t be a captain, “a lot of players on the team said I should have been captain.” However, he still feels the decision should be up to the players, “it’s better that the team decides so they actually might listen to the captains.”

Joe Hyser, the men’s basketball coach, decided to let the team vote on who would be this year’s captain. “I trusted the team.” However, Hyser has criteria to prevent it from becoming a popularity contest, including allowing only senior captains.

Senior and captain on the basketball team Mahari Wilson said that, as a captain, he had “a target on [his] back.” He explained that the captain is “someone you have to get after,” because “if you go after the captain the hardest, you have a good chance of being captain next year.”

Wilson said that when he learned he would be captain, he expected he would have better games and practices for himself, since everyone would be challenging him.

Even though there are just two captains on the men’s basketball team, Hyser said that the other seniors serve as leaders too. “Just because they’re not captains doesn’t mean they’re not leaders, it’s just that the captains are kind of spokespersons,” said Hyser.

However, Hyser said that captains “hold the team accountable.” For example, said Hyser, “if the players are telling them don’t stay out late tonight we got a game tomorrow sometimes that’s stronger than the coach telling them … sometimes peer pressure is stronger than adult pressure.”

Last year the baseball captains were chosen by the coach alone, and according to senior and captain Miles Westrich, not all the seniors were happy with the decision because “a few seniors [that weren’t picked as captains] felt they worked hard enough.” However, he said that he feels “the right people were chosen as captain.”

Scott Zosel, the new baseball coach, said that the captains’ responsibilities will be to make sure “the bench area is clean, field is raked, all equipment is picked up and accounted for,” in addition to being a good role model for younger players.

Zosel also said that he will look for a captain that is “not afraid to enforce standards, someone who doesn’t care what other kids think, someone who will do what’s right for his team even if other kids think he or she is a goody-goody. A captain is someone who understands that leadership means not being very popular sometimes.”

Westrich said that at first he thought the players might have been a little afraid of him, but “I want to let them know I’m the same person, even if I get a little intense.”

Westrich said a captain’s job is to “keep people in line,” show up to practice everyday, dedication, and have a positive attitude. “You can’t just say I’m not feeling practice today,” he said.

Despite some possible hard feelings, senior Devon Vendeneykel said that “everybody respects one another on the team, we have a great bond together.” As a new captain on the baseball team this year, he plans to “just keep everybody focused, motivate everybody to get there, and take home the state title!”

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Team captains serve as leaders and role models