Jim Amidon — About two months ago I got a call from Mary Smith over at Nicholson Elementary School. She was working on a grant-funded program to encourage kids at her school to spend more time reading and less time in front of the TV. Her plan was the first Family Fun Sports Reading Night. What she needed from me was a big turnout from Wabash’s student-athletes.
Knowing that boys tend to read less, the theme was sports and the books selected for the evening were all sports-related. Nearly 50 kids and their families came out Tuesday night where they got to meet about as many Wabash student-athletes, who took time out of their busy lives (and practices) to read to the children. Coach Brian Anderson brought his whole wrestling team; I think the whole cross country team was there; and Coach Tom Flynn sent about 10 baseball players, too. Joined by a handful of Betas, the hulking Little Giants got down on the Nicholson gym floor and demonstrated that reading really is cool. As Mary said, "We know Wabash Always Fights and that Nicholson Always Reads!"
After the event, the kids and Little Giants enjoyed popcorn and soda (or course, it was a sports theme). The Wabash guys signed autographs and even Wally Wabash made an appearance.
I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the athletics department for its encouragement of community service. Our coaches — unlike so many in the Division I and Pro ranks — know that their athletes can and should be role models for our youth. And, honestly, I think our students love the opportunity to play "Dad" or "Big Brother" with our community’s children. The potential for further links between Wabash men and school-aged kids is limitless.
It’s good for our students, it’s good for kids, and it’s good for this College to make a difference in the community. Last night was a resounding victory for Wabash and Nicholson!