Check out the collaborative piece I worked on at Ohio University’s high school journalism workshop. The following was initially posted on scrippsworkshop.org.
Not every Copperhead is a Bobcat, but as spring opponents join forces this summer, they have one common goal: to play at their highest level.
On the Southern Ohio Copperheads Summer League baseball team, athletes blend game philosophies and styles of play to compete in the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League. Rising sophomore Tony Giannini, an infielder for Ohio University and the Copperheads, said he enjoys this camaraderie.
“I know so many kids from where I grew up or from other schools that I’ll hang out with,” Giannini said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Copperheads’ head coach Jonathan Nichols said the team attracts athletes he wouldn’t have been able to coach otherwise, but its hodge-podge of philosophies and experience can hinder a team mindset.
To strengthen unity, the team partners with Athletes in Action to complete team-building activities, including Tic-Tac-Toe with a musical chairs twist and a game in which athletes flip a carpet while standing on top of it.
According to Nichols, the creation of a united team is “the most difficult task as a coach.” His coaching staff remains dedicated, however, to giving the players the most out of the season.
“We try to make sure that the guys know that this is an organization where you’re going to come to have a good summer,” Nichols said. “And as a coaching staff, we’re going to try to make you better as a player.”