Paying it back, and forward

GCRD director Abra Dodson, left, an GCRD program director Scotty Brown present a check to the Emmett football program in gratitude for volunteer officiating provided by some Emmett High players to the GCRD flag football program. 

Emmett football coach Rich Hargitt sees football from a Run Pass Option perspective. He sees life as a multi-option opportunity as well and teaching that to his students and players is perhaps more important than the Xs and Os of football.

“We try to talk about options at every step of the process,” Hargitt said during a recent conversation while supervising his football team doing a clean-up project at the Gem County Fairgrounds. “Just like football schemes, there are many ways to approach each day. Realizing that we are in control of most of our options every day and that our decisions will effect more than just ourselves is crucial. We are not in this alone.”

That philosophy has been displayed in a series of community service projects that Hargitt has engaged his team members in over the past year. Even on Friday, with a Homecoming game coming up that night, he felt the best option for his team when they had the afternoon off from school was to do something as a team and something that would benefit someone else.

He chose to reach out and see where 40 young men could best contribute ninety minutes of effort someplace other than in front of a video game console at home. Boys with pickups can move a lot of weeds in a short period of time.

The two-furlongs turn at the Gem County Fairgrounds looks a lot cleaner today. It was the team’s second trip to the fairgrounds as it had shared a painting project with a Nevada school during a summer camp in July. A number of the team members were also part of a Payette River cleanup, some helped with a moving project, others volunteered as referees for the Gem County Recreation District flag football league.

Just as Hargitt’s Run Pass Option football has two sides, the community outreach has two sides as well.

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“This community does so much to support our programs at Emmett High,” Hargitt said. “I know a lot of folks think we always have our hands out for something and I understand and appreciate that. Unfortunately, we have few options to provide some of the basics and most of the extras for our programs and we want the community to know that we appreciate that support. I want the kids to fully recognize the commitment the community has to them and to be willing to return the favor.”

Hargitt credits the students with having an openness and willingness to give back.

“You see 40 kids out here today and not one of them has complained about having this little detour put into their afternoon off,” he said. “Where I came from in South Carolina I doubt ten percent of the athletes would have even shown up and those that did would have likely whined about it.”

Hargitt has no set check list that says the community service commitment of his football team has been fulfilled. He sees service as an option we all can work into our routines – day to day – even if just an hour or two on a sunny afternoon before a Homecoming football game.

EHS football players remove weeds growing along the horse track at the Gem County Fairgrounds as a brief afternoon “giveback” prior to its Homecoming football game on Friday.

The Gem County Recreation District presents a check to the Emmett High football program as a thank-you for three football players who served as volunteer officials for its flag football program this fall. GCRD program director Scotty Brown called the volunteer efforts invaluable to allowing the district to continue to offering a number of its programs.

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