PAYSON, Utah — With the high school football season just days away, it isn’t a shock to see the players at Payson High School spending hours on the field preparing for the season opener.
Like all High School athletes, players at this school must earn the right to wear their school’s jersey.
This year, in addition to the work they do on the field at practice, players are required to spend hours doing community service before they receive their jersey.
“The coaches required JV players to have five hours of community service and we had to get it signed by the person we did it for,” said Layne Osborn, a senior on the team. “Varsity players had to have seven hours.”
For most of the summer players have taken on various service projects and completed acts of kindness for members of their community.
“It shows the community that we care, and we really do. We care for them,” said Logan Secrist, a senior on the team.
In one example of sharing kindness, several players on the team dug a trench at a home where construction equipment was unable to complete the job.
“The boys came for four hours,” said Nan Theobald, a recipient of the kindness. “We’re older and it was like, oh my goodness, they just saved us a lot of hard work.”
Players believe completing the service work is helping with team unity and could translate to success on the field.
The team’s first year head coach hopes the good deeds have an impact beyond the football field.
“I want them, when they put that uniform on, that it means something to them,” said head coach Mark Murdoch. “I treat these kids like my own and I want them to be grown men and understand what it’s like to worry about other people than themselves.”
The Payson High School football team opens the season on Friday, August 13 against North Sanpete.