The reward trip was full of food, family, and fun. Torched by hot summer workouts since early July, members of the 2017 Mansfield cross country team took a break from their training and spent an afternoon splashing about the Alma Aquatic Park.
The incentive trip was a collective notion between Mansfield cross country coach John Mackey and his five senior athletes. It was the culmination of an agreement that players would attend a minimum number of summer training sessions for a chance to dive into the waterworks provided Alma’s recreational area.
For those players meeting expectations, Mackey as promised, transported the excited long distance runners to the park for an afternoon of worry free fun.
“It was a fun, fantastic time,” noted Mackey. “The day was beautiful. The camaraderie was special. The kids were great.”
The player’s and coach also invited family members to join in the celebratory trip. Several moms, dads, aunts, and siblings joined in the action.
As the majority of the group took to the water slides, Mackey and senior team member Devon Pyles fired up the barbecue grill and cooked for the masses. Following a team meal blessed by fellow senior Corrina Wesley, the attending players played a short game of getting to know you before returning to the park’s attractions.
One by one the players came to the foreground and drew a question from a bucket. Questions were short, simple, and created to reveal the personalities of the MHS players.
Inquiries were random in nature dealing with anything from standing at attention for the National Anthem to scary movies alone at night.
One of the funniest responses came from sophomore Jesse George. The scenario supposed that if your parents made you trade in your phone for a non-electrical devise. What would you trade for?
Jesse, high above other softer spoken feedbacks, shouted. “A new set of parents!”
“It was really funny listening to the minds of teenagers,” commented Mackey. “Choices they made like who’d they share a water bottle with, what gift they’d give their parents if they could afford it, or whether they’d stop for a fallen runner on a different team. It was quite illuminating. I think they enjoyed the game and getting to know each other better.”
Most of the MHS cross country runners will continue their individualized plans this next week. Regular team training will resume on August 14 when school starts back from summer break.
Mansfield’s first cross country meet will be September 9 at the Fort Smith Invitational.