by Bob and Sandy Weston
The Fulton Lions Club’s major focus is sight and hearing in addition to scholarships, youth activities and community support. The four major fund-raising projects the Lions undertake to support these programs are a chicken barbecue, pancake breakfast, Duck Derby and Lions Loot.
Under the leadership of President Dave Dingman, Lion members have and will be attending sporting events as part of their commitment to youth activities. Club members recently attended a junior varsity football game and assisted Fulton Athletic Booster members in the concession stand on Homecoming against Oswego.
At a recent Lions meeting, members were very pleased to have Chris Ells, director of health, physical education and athletics for the Fulton City School District as their guest speaker.
Ells clearly spelled out his approach to Fulton athletics as well as its educational component. He also met with us for a personal interview that we would like to share with you.
Along with his goals and objectives for the athletic program he administers, Ells emphasized the fact that without the help of the coaches and athletes, he could not have accomplished much of what he has for many of the programs that he helped initiate started from questions and concerns they raised. He added that the success of any athletic program is not only based on the commitment and dedication of the coaches and athletes but parental involvement and community support as well.
He described the balance necessary between academics and athletics and at preseason meetings the need for greater participation between parents, coaches and athletes. Effort and good grades are essential factors when playing a sport.
Some of the things that Ells also covered with Lions members and us include the benefits of being on a team; the Four C’s of Athletics, which are competence, character, civility and citizenship; the modified, JV and varsity Philosophy, which ranges from learning the basics of a game to the culmination of each development program; and sportsmanship, which in part is to play hard, play to win, but play fairly within the rules.
As for his background, Ells told us that as a little guy, he loved playing sports. He did everything — football, basketball, baseball, and skiing when he got older. At age 8 and petrified of the water, he learned how to swim and a month later, he joined the swim team. Competitive swimming became a very strong part of his life as he swam competitively for the next 18 years.
He added that running track and cross-country in high school are activities that he still enjoys.
Ells said he learned so much about life because of his commitment to sports. Paying it forward, he is trying to pass on all the valuable lessons he has learned throughout his sport’s career by focusing on the 4 C’s of athletics. Some of the benefits of being on a team, he said, include an increase in overall fitness, learning time management and achieving better academic grades.
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