ATTAWAY – Character of a Champion

They are called “ATTAWAYS,” showing respect and honoring the character of our competition. After every game both teams gather; players, coaches, family, friends, and faculty to give others an Attaway.   “How a person plays the game shows something of their character; how a person loses shows all of it.” Legendary Coach Frosty Westering, who fashioned “Attaways,” went on to say that “character is our best piece of equipment.”

At the end of every school year, all Jubilee REACH sports teams from all seven middle schools come together as One Team for a Red Carpet experience celebrating character, competition, and community.  We call it the “ATTYs,” founded on our belief that “every student desires to be known, loved, affirmed, belong and become a part of something greater than self.”  That is a team, a caring accountable community.

Two years ago, in sixth grade, Omar was headed down a destructive path.  His poor grades and attendance confirmed there was a “deeper need.”  “I had two D’s, and the rest were F’s,” he confessed.  Coach Giovanni Sanchez (Site Coach at Odle Middle School) came alongside Omar.  He loved, affirmed and ultimately encouraged Omar to join Odle’s Jubilee soccer team.  Now, as an eighth grader, Omar wears a “Team Captain” armband, designating him an exemplary leader of character and an encourager for other students. Omar will enter Sammamish High School next year with all A’s and one B.  “I needed a team.  I found a place to belong.  And now I enjoy encouraging other kids like me,” Omar says.

At the ATTYs students are welcomed as they walk the Red Carpet of Character, pausing to pose in their best attire for paparazzi photographers, play games, pick prizes and partake in dinner provided by our sponsor El Gaucho Restaurant, before the big ATTYs awards celebration.

One of our speakers was Jeremy Taiwo, Bellevue’s own Olympic Decathlete, now an American Ninja, out of Newport High and the University of Washington, shared his stimulating story of character overcoming adversity.  Jeremy related to the kids, comparing himself to Harry Potter, an improbable hero raised among the muggles, but destined for magic, because “growing up an immigrant mixed race kid set me apart and put me on the outskirts.”   Jeremy shared stories of how he had to battle through multiple injuries and surgeries, ultimately to be recognized as one of the world’s greatest decathletes.  “Life will challenge you often, but always remember that you can make adversity your biggest motivator,” he said before reminding every student at the ATTYs, “treat every person with kindness and have the character to do things that are right, rather than easy.”  

ATTAWAY Jeremy!  That is the Character of a Champion.

Oh…and Omar was honored at the ATTYS with the “Club Jubilee Award” medal for exhibiting all the values Club Jubilee Sports exemplify; character, integrity, respect, and inclusive encouragement to all teammates and peers in and out of the classroom.   You should have seen Omar’s parents, brother, and sister.  Let just say we will give them an ATTAWAY for their family hug….and pass the Kleenex, please.

A Big ATTAWAY to YOU for your generous support, service, advocacy, and prayers for Jubilee REACH!