More than a game: UF gives back

Oiler athletes participate in community service 

By Martyce Kimbrough

At the University of Findlay, athletes are required to do service for the school and for the community. This service may consist of working sporting events, selling tickets, painting schools, or even building houses for underprivileged families. For the Oiler men’s basketball team, service is something that they take pride in.

“The smiles on the faces of the people we help is what brings the most joy,” said head coach Charlie Ernst. “When you’re younger taking and receiving seem more important than giving. It’s not until you’re older when you see the gratitude of the people you’re helping that you understand how important giving back is.”

During the 2015-2016 basketball season, the men’s basketball team along — with other athletic teams — helped build a house for an underprivileged family in Findlay.

“The University has its own Habitat for Humanity [chapter] and this was actually the first home we ever built based off of applications to families that pass certain qualifications,” said Ernst. “Seeing their tears of joy brings a level of satisfaction to all of us and knowing that we impacted someone’s life.”

The satisfaction of helping others and giving back reaches past the coaching staff and to the players as well. Senior basketball player Ricardo Smith also enjoys in helping the community.

“It just brings a bunch of joy and happiness,” said Smith. “Taking time out to help others makes you thankful for the things you have and not only puts a smile on their face but on my face as well.”

Smith has done service for the team all of his four years at the University. He says it’s a tradition that he hopes the athletic department continues.

“It is something that as athletes we take pride in doing,” said Smith. “It’s part of what it means to be an Oiler. The community of Findlay supports us and gives to us year after year so the least we can do is return the favor and give back to them whenever we can.”

The Oiler basketball team is set to hold different community service projects during this school year such as a Race for the Cure that benefits cancer patients, a chili cook-off, and also helping at the Special Olympics basketball games. Ernst says that bringing service to the community will be a good way to bring joy to the team as they get prepared to start their 2016-2017 season.

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