From the desk of Rod Fletcher, Headmaster:
One of the conversations that I regularly have with the Brook Hill coaches centers on the idea that at Brook Hill the “goal of competition is to win, but that’s not why we play the game.” If there is a scoreboard, we prepare to win and play to win – but that is not the reason we have athletics at Brook Hill.
There is a purpose for athletics at Brook Hill that is larger and more important than winning a game or even securing a State Championship – and sometimes that purpose can be overlooked. At Brook Hill we “play the game” because of the lessons that students learn through athletics. The “why” of Brook Hill athletics is the most important thing. The lessons that competitive athletics teach – such as teamwork, self-discipline, loyalty, responsibility, how to win well, how to lose well, how to deal with disappointment and failure, sportsmanship, endurance, hard work, etc. are why athletics at Brook Hill exists and are is worthwhile. Athletics provides an avenue for lessons and growth that are hard, if not impossible, to learn elsewhere – and that’s “why we play the game.”
Most of the lessons are learned through the entirety of an athletic season. The day-to-day grind of practicing and playing games is the setting that Brook Hill coaches use to develop the character of their players. Every once in a while, however, a situation provides a specific opportunity to instruct. The volleyball game between the Brook Hill Lady Guard and Brighter Horizons Academy provided Brook Hill one of those opportunities.
Our coaches knew that Brighter Horizons Academy was a Muslim school that was new to TAPPS and found out early into the match that they were not going to provide much competition for his team. Our coaches quickly determined that this was a teachable moment and challenged his team not to dominate the their opponent, when they had the ability and right to do so, but rather make the contest into a game and allow Brighter Horizons to learn and grow and actually have fun. His team immediately took on his challenge and spent the three games playing with, encouraging, and even cheering for their opponent. The result – a Muslim team, new to TAPPS, felt valued, encouraged and supported by the Brook Hill Lady Guard Volleyball team. Yes, Brook Hill won the game – but the bigger victory came in the form of the lessons learned that night, by both teams, through athletics.
The following is an email sent by the referee of the match describing his perspective of the evening, and it gives me yet another reason to be proud of our students:
First sorry it has been a week or so but I witnessed something last week that you need to know about…
Just a little back ground first about a month ago TAPPS asked me to help out this small Muslim school with Volleyball officials. They had gotten a late start on the season and could not find officials…From the first night we saw them play we knew they were going to be out matched in all there district matches….But then along comes YOUR BROOKHILL VOLLEYBALL TEAM…
The match started like the rest but when the score got to 10-0 in Brook Hill’s favor, coach called a time out…From that point on he instructed and challenged his young ladies to allow the other to learn and improve…They were not to spike or kill the ball only pass it back to the young ladies on the other side….The outcome was never in doubt at all but as his ladies got into it they started cheering on and encouraging the young Muslim ladies….The best part is the ladies on the other side got better and improved and more than anything smiled and had fun….They even scored 16 points in game two and earned them with their hits as Brook Hill was still content to just send the ball back to them…. I have been doing sports officiating since I was 16 years old….So close to 40 years and I have NEVER seen such a great show of sportsmanship…The class in which Brook Hill handle this situation with honor and integrity was something I will remember for many years to come…The young ladies at B.H.A. Prep in Garland life was changed that day also…Being they are have a different religion and dress different they are subject to daily battles with being stereo typed….But for the couple hours on a Friday night they were just young ladies enjoying some volleyball and making new friends with the coaches and ladies from Brook Hill….
Last night was the last night for their home Volleyball games we were asked to cover and the ladies at B.H.A. were still talking about the fun they had and friends they meet from Brook Hill….
Please pass along my THANKS to the volleyball team…They represented Brook Hill in the best manor in which one could hope for….I have attached a picture of the two teams and coaches afterward….Which I think will tell the Story better than my words…..
Elite Sports Officials
You can read more about the story in the Jacksonville Daily Progress here.
You can see a special video that ran on the news (KLTV) here.