Mentors: Growing Leaders on the Field and the Court


Competition cheer team with Coach Dougherty

Isabelle Espy, Staff Writer

Armuchee High School, proud home of the Indians, teaches growth and teamwork along with many other lessons such as how to grow as a leader, teammate, and all around person. With the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down schools and sports all over the country in the Spring of 2020, now is when students/young adults should be stepping up and letting their leadership show. However, in order to be a leader players need a mentor to teach them how.

Relationships, or bonds, are necessary in a student’s growth into a leader and adult because they need someone to teach them how to carry themselves and be responsible. Coaches and their athletes have this bond, and it has been proven. Coach Andy Henderson, baseball and softball coach, said,”I fell in love with the team. I always wanted to coach the sport.” Henderson’s remarks coincide with athlete Sara Harris, freshman. “Having a new coach believe in me makes me more comfortable on the mound.” This support has made her an all around more confident and trusting athlete and person. The bond on and off the field is positive, and the athlete and coach have both grown as a leader and a mentor.

Another mentor-athlete bond happens not on the field, but rather on the court. With basketball season around the corner, athletes and coaches are ecstatic. Coach Clint Decker, head coach of the boy’s basketball team, describes his boys as full of energy along with passion. Decker has also learned much from his players. “They have energy and passion, and I want them to have real world applications to be successful in life after high school,” said Decker. Darrell Trejo, senior, describes the relationship with his coaches as down to earth. “It’s an honest friendship that I can trust. I know they’ll be there for me whenever I need them,” he said. “Coach Decker has taught me to hustle, go all out, and always give 100% no matter what.” 

With the Covid-19 pandemic taking over the world of sports, many coaches took the end of their season with a grain of salt. One of these coaches was Mrs. Mary Stuart Ratledge, the girl’s tennis coach. “I have a deeper appreciation for the sport and the girls after Covid-19, and seeing them grow as leaders and individuals is bitter-sweet,” said Ratledge, who is very passionate about her team and has definitely developed a motherly bond. She loves teaching and coaching the sport, and remembers Brooke Dellis, graduate. “Brooke never lost a match and left high school with no regrets.” Even though the pandemic has kept sports apart, it has bonded them closer together in the long run.

Armuchee has teachers and coaches who support students and athletes and want every student to grow into their best self no matter who they are. They will always be there to build students and athletes up and teach life lessons they can share with others. Through team trials or even a pandemic, the bond between athletes and coaches is familial, and that will never change.