Being a member of a McPherson basketball team, whether at the high school or middle school level, entails much more than simply practice and games. Players also give back to the community that supports them. The McPherson Middle School eighth grade boys basketball team did so Thursday morning by volunteering to run with kindergarteners at Roosevelt Elementary School.
According to Mija Stockman, Roosevelt Physical Education teacher, the Jingle Bell Walk/Run involved teachers signing up their classes to run or walk around the school for 15 minutes at some point during the final morning of classes before the holiday break on Thursday. Due to the winter storm Wednesday night, the students ran around the interior of the school.
“We’ve done a Turkey Trot in the past, but we didn’t do it this year,” Stockman said. “So we thought this would be the perfect time to do a Jingle Bell Jog. Kids are all worked up worked up and excited since Christmas Break starts (Friday), so it’s an excellent opportunity for them to get some exercise in before vacation.”
Brown and his players became involved in the run through his work as an Adapted Physical Education teacher with USD 418.
“I work with students here (at Roosevelt) and noticed the memo about the Jingle Bell Jog,” Brown said. “I though it was an excellent way to promote health and fitness and get the ball players over here and mentor the young ones.”
The Bullpups jogged with the kindergarten classes of Kirsten Stewart, Alice Olander and Cindy Pressnall for the allotted 15 minutes, after which all three classes and the basketball team placed self-made ornaments on a paper Christmas tree in the gymnasium.
Stockman was thrilled to have the team participate in the jog.
“The middle schoolers probably don’t realize what role models they are right now to the younger kids,” Stockman said. “The younger kids look up to anybody whose bigger than them, and the middle schoolers and the high schoolers are doing a tremendous service by being positive role models.”
For Brown, getting his players out and in the community is a way to help them understand the tradition basketball has in McPherson.
“It’s a good thing for them to get out and to give back,” Brown said. “And what better time to give back then this time of year?”
The kindergarteners, themselves, were obviously thrilled to be running alongside the players.
“When you walk into the Roundhouse, it’s a special thing,” Brown said. “These kids, they look up to these bigger guys.”