Every West Essex High School athlete who participates in fall sports and all high school coaches participated in a Fall Sportsmanship and Leadership Program in conjunction with the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center’s Coaching Institute.
Representatives from the institute spoke with students in the gymnasium August 29 and encouraged students to work together as a team and exercise good sportsmanship. The program is funded by Investor’s Savings Bank.
Several students said they enjoyed the program.
“West Essex is all about sports,” said Daniela Forte, a junior from Fairfield, who plays on the soccer team. “I think this program will encourage people to be nicer to each other on the field as a team.”
“As athletes, we need to be more civil to each other,” added Juliana Riotto, a freshman on the soccer team from Fairfield.
Joe Scaglia, a junior from Fairfield, who plays baseball and football for West Essex said “All the West Essex coaches really do a great job. They tell us how to be a gentleman. This sports leadership program will help make us better people on the field as well as off the field.”
Volleyball player Abbey Rollins, a senior from North Caldwell, noted that “every season it is difficult to have a whole team of 20 girls who need to get out there and work like sisters on the court and work together.”
“I think a program like this is good for everyone and I know that we will have a great season," she said.
Teammate Alexa Dirienzo, a senior from Fairfield, agreed with Rollins. “This program shows us how to be leaders and how to play the game right and treat everyone with respect.”
West Essex Athletic Director Damion Macioci welcomed students and coaches to the high school gym and introduced the leaders from the Coaching Institute.
Montclair State University professors John McCarthy and Dr. Rob Gilbert, who also founded the Yogi Berra Museum’s Coaching Institute, made a presentation to coaches and captains about improving communications, playing against the game and hosting a winning practice. They also talked to the students about sportsmanship, competing with character, becoming the best teammate, leadership, preventing hazing and creating and maintain individual team and school sports traditions.
McCarthy said that students need to “transfer what they learn out on the field to the classroom and the rest of your life.”
“The skills are recommended for you to have the best possible experience,” he said.