BY AFTON HICKS
There is a core in most sports teams. This core provides the structure and strength for the whole program. Without it, the team is often frail and unsuccessful. In many high school sports, this core is the team captain. They demonstrate all the qualities of a prized athlete and represent the team in the best way possible. They are often the main role models for the rest of the team, and they guide them through the trials and tribulations that come with winning and losing games. For the Cooper City High School hockey team, this core is found in Mason Verge and James Sharpe, two players who have proven themselve’s to be athletes worthy of the title “Team Captain”.
Both juniors, Verge and Sharpe were selected after a league rule prohibited some of the seniors to be selected for the position of captain. It was a simple process, which began with a vote by the players at a team dinner. Then, after an interview with the coach, Verge and Sharpe were named captains.
“The coach takes us to dinner and we all voted,” Sharpe said. “Then, the three top people were interviewed.”
Verge and Sharpe each have their own goals for the team, but both want to focus on implementing strong leadership, and really be a guiding figure in the up’s and down’s that comes with any sport’s season.
Verge has focused his main goal on providing an example for the younger players. A veteran on the CCHS hockey team, he has a lot of experience with what it will take to push the team’s limitations and produce the best season possible.
“Basically, (I want) to be a good leader,” Verge said. “Lead by example for the young kids, stick up for them. I want to help the team anyway I can.”
Sharpe has a similar goal of providing strong leadership. However, he has plans to take it beyond the ice and provide an example not only on the rink, but out of it in their daily lives.
“I want to be a leader on and off the ice.” Sharpe said.
Of course there are pressures that come with being young captains. Along with the stresses of the possibility of losing a game, they have to deal with players that are not only their own age and younger, but older than them as well. They also must deal with the responsibility of proving themselves as valuable leaders. Each player has taken a different attitude towards dealing with the issues that may arise from leading a team of athletes.
“I showed great leadership before I became official,” Sharpe said. “But, I was wondering if everyone was going to respect me.”
For Verge, who had a more cool and collected attitude towards the position, the pressure doesn’t seem to be affecting him. His main focus is just playing the game and making sure that he provides all members of the team with positive feedback, regardless of how they may have played.
“I don’t like putting people down,” Verge said. “I try to encourage everyone. I’m not even worried about it, I just want to play.”
These captains aren’t the only ones with a positive attitude about their future as team leaders. Verge and Sharpe have undoubtedly have earned the respect and confidence of their teammates. Most of the players have reacted well to the coach’s decision and expect to see these guys do good things for the team, along with the help of the team’s senior leaders.
“I think they’ll do pretty well,” Senior Kyle Torres said. “They’re good leaders and we all respect them.”
It takes a certain type of person to really be a good team captain. Whether it’s the leadership they provide for their fellow teammates, or the attitude they carry about the job, a good team captain is not only marked by a successful season but by the respect they earn from their teammates. Regardless of how much they win or how much they loose, good things are expected from Verge and Sharpe.