(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah- BYU athletes welcomed over a thousand students from 12 different elementary schools Thursday for the annual Sports Hero Day.
The students rotated through a variety of stations hosted by different athletic teams including football, track and field, soccer and volleyball, among others. Each station had an activity that was led by athletes from the respective sport, giving the students a chance to interact with their BYU sports heroes.
“Sports hero day is awesome,” soccer player Niki Fernandes said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community. Especially with BYUtv, they have the chance to watch us and now we get the chance to interact with them and influence them. Knowing that we are making an impact is great.”
After the rotations, Cougarette Jerra Kofford, volleyball player Alexa Gray, and football starters Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams addressed the students.
Gray talked about overcoming adversity and learning lessons to achieve goals.
“Being a hero is doing the little things,” Gray said. “The little things make a big difference. The most successful people take challenges and turn them into positives. I hope that when they come you are able to keep your heads up and learn from them. You may not see it now, but there is something bigger and better waiting for you in your future. A good work ethic and a positive attitude can get you further than you ever thought possible.”
Williams encouraged the students to focus on their dreams and to have fun along the way.
“Be determined and keep focused,” Williams said. “You will have obstacles in the way. It happens. You have to overcome them. You don’t have to do it by yourself. Let others help you become the best you can be. On your way to becoming the best that you can be, have fun."
Hill told the students that being a hero is about being the best version of themselves.
“We need to be well-rounded in everything that we do,” Hill said. “You don’t have to be a really good football player, volleyball player or dancer to be a hero. You just need to be you. You need to become the best you that you possibly can. Find that passion and become as good as you possibly can. That’s heroic.”
Sports Hero Day is just one of the ways BYU Athletics gives back to the community each year.
Kaylee Packham, women’s track and field
“I can tell how excited they are, and it’s great to be able help them set and reach goals. It is really rewarding to be around them and be a good example.”
Kim Dahl, women’s volleyball
“When I was younger, I looked up to athletes as examples. It’s important to give them role models and help them have dreams and goals.”
Chunner Nyberg, baseball
“It’s really rewarding. I know I felt the impact of positive role models. It’s awesome that we are now in a position to be positive role models for them.”
Jamaal Williams, football
"One of the greatest attributes of being a hero is overcoming adversity in difficult times. It makes you stronger to know you have someone to go to help you out."
Taysom Hill, football
"I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today without the people around me, my heroes. As you think about goals and the things you want to accomplish, think about the heroes you have in your life, think about what they have accomplished. I was able to see my goals become a reality because I worked hard to do it."