Put Me In, Coach!

With childhood obesity plaguing one in three American children, participation in youth sports is becoming an increasingly important tool for keeping children healthy.

According to Active Kids, for those children who do participate in youth sports, 60 percent of boys and 47 percent of girls are on a team by the age of six. Perhaps that’s because parents have caught on to the lifelong benefits of youth sports. Children who start participating in sports between ages 6 to 12 have 40 percent higher test scores, 7 to 8 percent higher lifetime earnings, a 15 percent increased likelihood of college attendance and a significantly lower instance of obesity.

So what’s it like to play sports for your school? Here are three local athletes who are succeeding in sports and in school, sharing how a sport has impacted their lives.

BRITTANY THERIOT | Vollyball Senior, VCHS • Reigning State MVP

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing volleyball when I was 9 years old on a TPR team.

What was the name of your first team?
We were called The Shockers.

What would you tell younger athletes interested in playing volleyball when they grow up? 
I would tell younger athletes interested in being a volleyball player to never give up. Anything, at first, will be hard to do, but with repetition and fight, you will become a great player. Make the most of it and just have fun!
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is NBA star Russell Westbrook because he is seen as a smaller player in the NBA. He does whatever he has to do to win. His fight and mindset to never give up in any situation is what inspires me.

What has been the best tip someone gave you along the way?
It doesn’t matter if you are at a disadvantage to everyone else. If YOU believe you can do it, then you CAN do it.

DAVID LIRETTE | South Terrebonne SeniorMulti-sport (Football & Baseball)

When did you start playing football?
I started playing when I was 6 years old.

What was the name of your first football team?
The name of my first team was the East Houma Steelers.

What would you tell younger athletes interested in playing football when they grow up?
I would tell kids to work hard and get in the weight room. All of that hard work pays off.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mom is my greatest inspiration because she has done so much for me throughout my athletic career.

What has been the best tip someone gave you along the way?
The best advice anyone has ever given me is to just play every play like it’s your last because you never know when it could all be over.

BRENNA TRAHAN | South Terrebonne SophomoreCheer JV Co-Captain

When did you start cheering?
I started cheering my 7th grade year at Lacache Middle School. I was 13 years old.

What was the name of your first football team/cheer squad?
The name of my first football team/cheer squad was the Blue Knights.

What would you tell younger athletes interested in being a cheerleader when they grow up?
Cheerleading comes with many responsibilities, here are a few things that with being a cheerleader you might want to consider.
Cheerleading is so much more than just going to the football field or basketball court on a game day. Plan on spending lots of hours practicing, doing fundraisers, and participating in before game pep rallies! Cheer isn’t always easy and can be super stressful but you have to push yourself to be better! Dedicate yourself to this sport! Even on the worst days, I am grateful for the person cheerleading has trained me to be.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration was one of my old cheer coaches, Mrs. Simonne Lanigan. She has pushed me and taught me to be the cheerleader I am today! She really did serve as a good example and made me realize you get out of cheer what you put into cheer.

What has been the best tip someone gave you along the way?
The best tip someone has given me along the way is that there’s no such thing as giving up. It doesn’t matter if your sponsor/coach is asking you to do a skill you’ve never heard of, or a difficult routine. You and your team will stay on the mat until you finally hit the skill and nail the routine! •

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