WHEELING - There is certainly more to sports than just winning and losing.
And there's definitely more to the holiday season than just gifts.
The Shadyside Lady Tigers basketball team got a first-hand look at both on Monday when it volunteered at the Wheeling Soup Kitchen to help prepare and serve breakfast and lunch.
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
MEMBERS OF the Shadyside Lady Tigers basketball program volunteered for a few hours Monday at the Wheeling Soup Kitchen as a community service outreach program that was initiated by coaches Jim Miller and Stu Rynkievich. They plan to make it an annual event.
"It's been a special time," said Lady Tigers' head coach Jim Miller. "The girls were great about it and it's been an eye-opener for them to see some of the needs that exist out in the community."
The Lady Tigers arrived at the Soup Kitchen at 8:30 and worked through the lunch service.
"Taking part in things like this is critical because it gives the kids a full view of life," Miller said. "We build the body and the mind, but this gets them out in the community. This may spark an interest that some may want to get out and do more. We're hoping for a positive reaction for the girls sake to reinforce that what they did was important."
Junior Kenzie Fielding falls into the category of wanting to do more after experiencing her first time in a volunteer capacity.
"It's been inspirational," Fielding said. "I want to do more. I've learned that it's good to give back. We've all been smiling all day about just being able to help someone. It's been a fun experience. I want to do this every year and even more often."
The idea for the team to take part was that of assistant coach Stu Rynkievich and his wife, Erin.
"Coach Stu and his wife felt it would be good for the girls to do some things over the holiday for the girls to get together and do something to be able to give back," Miller said. "We thought about doing some thing in Belmont County, but Erin had some contacts and this was one that had a great need. especially on Monday."
The Lady Tigers also helped the Soup Kitchen through a canned food drive that they held at their home games thus far this season.
"We're going to continue to do this each and every year," Miller said. "And we may even branch out a little bit."
Through the work, Fielding and her teammates got a full glimpse of just how many people are in need, which really hit home.
"There are a lot of people who need our help, so it's great that we're able to do something to help them," Fielding continued.
When Miller and Rynkievich informed the team of the plan, it was met with a wide variety of facial expressions and reaction because the majority hadn't done much service work such as volunteering at a Soup Kitchen.
"It was the strangest thing, but the girls beat me (to the school) this morning and they were excited to get here," Miller said. "Once we got here, we were given jobs and everyone jumped right in, so it was seamless."
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org