Youth Nights influence participation for young athletes

Ashton Bell, Editor

The flash of the cameras, the shine of the lights, the roar of the crowd- every young athlete’s dream. Tallmadge High School’s fall athletic season is bringing back generations of traditions.  One in particular is youth night. 

Undefeated Tallmadge varsity football alongside varsity cheer shared the stage with Tallmadge Youth Football and Cheer Sept. 3. 

Varsity Running Back Mason Bennett values community involvement regarding athletics. “I looked  forward to talking with the young kids and getting to know them, ” Bennett said. “I hope I can be a role model and motivate them to be like me when they grow up.”

Tallmadge High School cheerleaders are not only valued by fans, they are looked up to by young girls, too. Former Varsity Cheerleader Lily Hawkins recalls her own Youth Night experience. 

“I remember being so excited being able to go cheer with the big girls. When you’re a little kid, it seems so out of reach to be a high school athlete,” Hawkins said.  

Along with bringing the community together, youth night is beneficial in a student’s athletic career. 

“As a little kid, the varsity cheerleaders are all you look up to. I’ve gotten asked to take a picture (by young athletes) in my uniform at Circlefest and games,” Hawkins said. 

Bennett said, “I think it’s beneficial for the kids. They always seem to have a good time.”

Tallmagde athletics is not only continuing the tradition of  football and cheerleading youth night, it is hosting a youth night for girls volleyball, too. Taking place Sept. 14, girls high school volleyball will be joined on the court by young volleyball athletes in the community. 

Varsity Defensive Specialist Lexi Gray shares her excitement for the upcoming event. 

“I am looking forward to showing the kids why I kept playing in high school,” Gray said. 

 Events like youth night not only showcase skill, they spark interest. 

“I didn’t know if I would play volleyball in high school. Going to youth night showed me I wanted to play,” Varsity Middle Hitter Mia Hurst said. “I am looking forward to showing the young student athletes how great our volleyball program is.”