GIVING BACK, it is a noteworthy undertaking. All too often, however, such an endeavor never comes to fruition.
The Buckeye Local High boys' basketball team has been giving back in championship fashion this summer. The Panthers have a new head coach who realizes that prep athletics go far beyond wins and losses.
First-year coach Buckeye boss Greg Haberfield has made a positive impact on his players and community since assuming his post this spring. Haberfield grasps the concept that athletics provide the ideal classroom to learn life lessons, and in the process lend a helping hand to those who may need one.
Haberfield and his Panthers have exhibited compassion and caring through a host of activities. The most recent came Friday when the coach and some of his players were at the Yorkville Volunteer Fire Department helping with a monthly Produce Distribution Market, which is hosted by the Yorkville United Methodist Church's food pantry, for the less fortunate. Some 250 families benefitted from the food giveaway, made much easier by the help of the Buckeye Local hoopsters.
Haberfield and players have previously assisted local churches, offering any assistance they could. The coach says the Panthers' goodwill missions will continue.
"We're continuously looking for ways to become involved," Haberfield said. "I am always open for anything or any way we can help out. This is just a great opportunity for the kids.
"Anything we can do to give back to the community, we're all for it," Haberfield said. "Our student-athletes realize (giving back) is much bigger than the game of basketball, and I hope these experiences help these kids become life-long advocates for community involvement."
In these highly competitive and often selfish times, the Buckeye Local boys' basketball program is delivering a most refreshing take on prep athletics.
We commend what Coach Haberfield and his players are doing, as they truly are giving back. We also hope it becomes contagious throughout the valley.