Bravery, courage and determination are among the character-building taught to the young men on the football team.
On Aug. 12, at in Trenton, 25 Wyandotte players attended a presentation given by Brad Hurtig, a man who exemplified those virtues after overcoming a 2002 industrial accident that forced amputation of his left hand and half of his right arm.
Also in attendance to see the 25-year-old Ohio native’s presentation were football players from and Riverview Community High School.
Hurtig and has gained national attention, having been featured by media outlets such as ESPN and The New York Times.
At the time of Hurtig’s accident, he was a three-sport athlete in high school, with two more years of high school left. Instead of quitting sports, however, he was determined to work his way back to the athletic fields.
Eventually he rejoined both the baseball and football teams at his school and in his senior year led the football team with 111 tackles.
“His story was remarkable and his message of faith and determination were an inspiration,” said Roosevelt head coach Ron Adams, who was also at the presentation with his players.
Adams said members of squad were particularly inspired by a phrase Hurtig used that evening, which was “Are you a Champ or Chump?” Hurtig explained that the difference between the two is determined by a person’s attitude.
The Bears have since painted the phrase "Champ or Chump" on a wall inside Roosevelt Stadium as a reminder of what Hurtig said the evening.
Getting a chance a to hear Hurtig’s story was an opportunity to reinforce virtues players have learned as members of the Wyandotte team, Adams said, as well as a chance for the teens to learn another life lesson as they head toward adulthood.
“It was a great experience,” Adams said “We like being able to do things that are positive for our kids, and help them understand (what’s) important. It’s not just about stepping on the field.”