FLEMINGSBURG – Many believe that sports are a way to give back to the community and teach important life lessons.
Fleming County athletic director Kevin Fulton, girls’ basketball coach Melanie Rogers and boys’ basketball coach Matt Taylor had the opportunity to discuss the community involvement efforts of the athletic programs from the school during the Fleming County Rotary Club meeting at the Fleming County Hospital on Tuesday.
“When I interviewed for the job, I told them in the committee that whether you like it or not, athletics are the front porch of your school,” said Fulton. “People are going to judge your school on how your athletes look, how they act, how their grades are and what they do in their community. I believe it’s a great thing in building character amongst our kids to put pressure on them to be great role models.”
Fulton, who was named athletic director over the summer, will be assisted in his efforts by the coaches at the school, including Rogers and Taylor, who are both entering their first season at Fleming County.
The student athletes have already been involved in several community service activities, like helping to clean up the elementary school during the summer and working side by side with rotary club members during the Fleming County Court Days.
“The sports programs do a lot of different things. Not only are they teaching kids about whatever sport they’re participating in, but they’re trying to teach them about being a good community member and giving back to your community, and that is important,” said Fleming County Rotary Club president Rebecca McGinnis. “There are so many civic organizations here in Flemingsburg, and we all are giving back to our community, so it’s nice to see those young people learning those values.
“To get it from their coaches, their athletic director – to see that importance of giving back – it may be just little things, but volunteering is so important, and you can learn so much about so many different aspects,” added McGinnis. “It’s not all about picking up trash and things like that, but it’s the morals and values that are instilled in these young people’s lives that help them continue on to be good leaders in our community.”
While it may be difficult to stay involved during the season, the teams are already thinking of more ways they can get help the community.
“We’re going to get involved a heck of a lot more when we’re not grinding it out and getting prepared for a game,” said Taylor. “That’s kind of where we are now, is just conceptualizing what’s next in the cleanup process, or for lack of better words, the community service process.”
The coaches are also hoping that the efforts on the court will continue to grow with the efforts within the community.
“Playing against Fleming County – it was a tough game,” said Rogers. “I played at Rowan County and we hated coming here. We always knew that when we walked in the Den, it was going to be a fight until the end, and I want to continue that tradition.”
These efforts might already be paying dividends, as the Panthers’ football team beat Lawrence County on Friday, 29-22, on a touchdown within the final 15 seconds, for their first playoff win since the 2012 season.
And no matter what happens on Friday when the football team travels to Belfry for their second round playoff game, or on the court this winter, the coaches and administrators are hoping that the athletes will have pride in what they’ve accomplished and will be able to use what they’ve learned in their futures.
“I want the kids who graduate from Fleming County to have pride in wearing black and gold, to have pride in being a Panther and have pride in being a citizen of Fleming County,” said Fulton.