Coach Matt Labrum had his football team at practice, but not a football practice. They were in character classes during their normal practice hours.
The head football coach of Union High in Roosevelt, Utah suspended his entire team after a loss to Judge Memorial Catholic High. It wasn’t because they lost but because of actions away from the field.
Several players had already been in trouble for skipping classes, and more would be in that number for cyber bullying other students. Labrum couldn’t stand any more of the behavior. So he made the players turn in their jerseys and equipment.
Somehow, the players actually embraced the stringent punishment.
“”We looked at it as a chance to say, ‘Hey, we need to focus on some other things that are more important than winning a football game,'” Labrum told the Deseret News.
The young men showed up at the school the next day, a Saturday, and learned how they could earn their way back on to the team. The teenagers have been cleaning up area streets as part of team-mandated community service Yahoo Sports said.
The team’s natural leaders are realizing that they need to be more vocal and keep their teammates in line. Part of Labrum’s suspension was due to players who were meeting his expectations were not taking lead in the locker room.
That situation has completely changed. Only two of the original seven captains were re-elected the day after the Judge Memorial loss Yahoo Sports said.
“We got an emotional response from the boys,” Labrum said in his interview with the Deseret News. “I think it really meant something to them, which was nice to see that it does mean something. There was none of them that fought us on it.”
The teenagers are reflecting on what it means to wear a Union High uniform. Not only are they leaders on the field, but also in the community.