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Barker Field Hockey’s Hero of the Day Award

There’s more than one way to be a hero.

Along with a tradition of success on the field the Barker field hockey team has another tradition behind the scenes that has directly impacted the on field product.

Since 2008, the Lady Raiders have presented a “Hero of the Day” to the girl who has displayed exemplary behavior.

“It’s a way to try and motivate the kids to perform well in practice and understand that (how you) practice is just as important as playing in the games,” said head coach Jeff Costello, who began the Hero of the Day honor in 2008.

“So it can be anything from a skill that a kid has been working on to something that we talked about that they then go out and demonstrate.”

Wanting his girls to look beyond the black and white of wins and stats, Costello, who chooses the winner each day, said the criteria to win Hero of the Day focuses on the intangibles that lead to victory and a successful season.

Traits like leadership, decision making, hard work, time spent working on refining skills, light bulb moments which highlight thinking on your feet and, perhaps most importantly, learning and moving forward after making a mistake.

“The first time I got it on varsity I was like oooo yay! I got it. I’m a little eighth grader. This is exciting,” junior Katrina Clare said.

“It’s just kind of a good feeling to have worked hard and gotten rewarded for it.”

One of the reasons why the girls embrace Hero of the Day so closely is because it’s an award that is also handed out to the junior varsity squad. So girls rise through the program with the benefit of competing for a daily award that helps the confidence grow, while still seeing the big picture of team work.

“We try to instill that in them on JV as seventh and eighth graders and carry it all the way through,” Costello said.

Because it encompasses so many important qualities the girls get the message of the award’s mission statement. That it’s not just about recognizing offensive stars or highlight reel plays. Anyone can win it for even the smallest accomplishment. So the value of the award increases in the eyes of the girls because they all know anyone could win on any given day.

“I think it tries to recognize the little things that we do,” said Clare. “It doesn’t have to be the best player on the team or the most skilled. If you do something good, it could be a small, little thing. You could help someone, doesn’t even matter what it is. It just gives you recognition for the little things.”

Junior Ciara Gregoire agreed saying Hero of the Day motivates each girl to dig deep within and find a way to bring her best effort every day. But it also shows that everything you go gets noticed.

“It’s kinda like a big boost,” Gregoire said. “Either if he announces it at the end of practice or the next day you kind of remember oh yeah, I did that.”

Working hand-in-hand with the Player of the Game award, both drive the message home that hard work is rewarded. More importantly it teaches the girls there is never an excuse to not work hard. For yourself, but more importantly, for each other because everybody matters.

“The whole scoring thing, some people might feel unmotivated. Or wow she scores more than me or she’s better than me,” Clare said. “But if you’re getting it, you’re working hard, and that’s what really counts.”

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