March 13, 2024

Acknowledging Parents: The Unsung Heroes of Student-Athlete Journeys

2.8 min read| Published On: March 13th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Acknowledging Parents: The Unsung Heroes of Student-Athlete Journeys

2.8 min read| Published On: March 13th, 2024|

As we descend upon the Spring sports season, I think we need to thank a very important group of people that we don’t talk about nearly enough. I always highlight student-athletes, and while it’s mostly about the students, we need to be thankful to the parents, guardians, and step-parents who dedicate much of their time to their children.

I spend enough time at ball fields, football fields, and basketball courts alike to understand that there is an enormous amount of time and effort that goes into a student-athlete’s career. They pour their heart and soul into what they do, and while not all parents can make every game, I see many of the same people at games, always rooting for their children.

(Parents show up to cheer on their children on a nightly basis across America. Right here in Lake & Sumter county some of the best stories come from behind the scenes.)

Many parents have to work around their schedules to make it to games. Some parents are coaches, some show up for support, and some show up just to see their son or daughter get into a game, even though they might not be a starter or play much. That is pure dedication, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge the parents of our student-athletes in our community.

During Softball and Baseball season, it’s not uncommon to be at the ballfields for three or four nights in a given week during a home stand. But some of our student-athletes participate in 3 and even 4 sports. To those parents, I simply say God Bless you. I am unsure of how to juggle that schedule around, but more power to those who do.

(The Campbell family along with D’mani Nettles stand together on Senior night. Coach Sean Campbell has enjoyed coaching his daughter Macy Campbell this season. Macy is a senior and has enjoyed a successful season as the Yellow Jackets are 22-1.)

Parents are dedicated to their children. No matter if they are starting or not, I always remember my mom and dad coming to my events and cheering me on. I always felt encouraged by that. For any student-athlete out there, I want you to know that it’s very important to take those moments in. High School is a very short time of your life but it is the best time.

Some will go on and play in college, but for many, they will go on to have a career in something other than sports. But what they will take with them are memories of their team and of their parents who dedicated so much of their time to their children.

(Would you be able to name these three baseball stars? They grew up to be one of the best squads in Umatilla High school baseball history. Trey Craft, Kannon Steinke and Logan Bowling grew up together and are now seniors on the Bulldogs team.)

Having children is a lifelong commitment. I am a father of two young daughters. One of them is eight years old, and one of them just turned one. At some point, I am sure I will see my fellow parents out there to root my little girls on. I already see many of you in the community as I announce sports for The Villages Charter School as a part-time job on the side and have gotten to know so many amazing people in a very short time.

(Jonathan Joseph of Mount Dora High basketball celebrates senior night. Mount Dora Basketall finished 1-22 this season but the parents and coaches were there for these kids every single game.)

Thank you, parents, for everything you do for your children. I know for a teenager to read this, you may or may not understand the dedication yet, but you will understand it one day. Of that, I am certain.

So here’s to all the parents in Lake & Sumter County. Thank you for what you do for the student-athletes. Without you, I would have nothing to write about, so I am thankful for that as well. PARENTS RULE!!!

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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