Union High School
Re: Union Football Character
Date: Thursday, September 27
Union High School has been pleased to receive the overwhelming and positive response to the recent efforts of our football coaches and team members to be examples and strive to lead our school with character and honor.
Information distributed previously is available for reading and viewing at various media outlets throughout the United States.
To develop and encourage character and honor within his football team, Union High football coach, Matt Labrum, with the support of his entire staff and Union High administration, told j.v. and varsity team members that issues related to personal character—humility, gratitude, respect courage, service, and honor—were going to be the focus of the team and that he wanted each team member to turn in his jersey. The meeting took place immediately after the Friday, September 20 football game vs. Judge Memorial High School in Roosevelt.
“The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field,” Coach Labrum told the team. He then explained a plan for the next few days and outlined just how the boys would earn their jerseys back. “It is a privilege to play this wonderful game!” stated Labrum. “We must earn the opportunity to have the honor to put on our high school jersey each Thursday and Friday night.
Since that night, team members were given criteria to meet before they would be given back their jerseys. The boys were required to attend all practices, take part in a character education course, give service to the grounds of a local junior high school, and visit the elderly in two Roosevelt elderly housing facilities. They were also required to be on time and prepared, to show improvement in their academics, give service to their family through a method of their choice, memorize a quote related to character, and attend team study hall.
“Because the concern was a team-wide problem, the requirement to earn the right to play on the team has been clearly stated and is the same for every player,” said Union Principal Rick Nielsen. “Football is about more than playing games; it is about respect and being a better person that works for the common good of all, both on and off the team.” By Wednesday evening, September 25, less than 10 players had not earned their jerseys back.
“We have tremendous students here at Union High School,” continued Principal Nielsen. “We look at this as an opportunity to help teach our young men how to be good men. How to be good husbands and fathers—coaches to their own sons and daughters one day.”
“Games have not been cancelled,” added Mike Ross, Union High Athletic Director and Vice Principal. “Kids were never released from the team. This has been a positive way to help our student-athletes know that we have higher expectations and that we believe they have the potential character to meet those expectations.”
Coach Labrum added that those student-athletes who did not receive their jerseys this week still have the opportunity to earn them back for next week’s game.