OAKMAN — Varsity football players at Oakman High School received a special visit from the town's mayor on Thursday.Oakman Mayor Cory Franks was invited by Oakman High head coach Ryan Hall to speak …
OAKMAN — Varsity football players at Oakman High School received a special visit from the town's mayor on Thursday.
Oakman Mayor Cory Franks was invited by Oakman High head coach Ryan Hall to speak to the players. Franks is a graduate of Oakman High and gave character building advice to the roughly 20 young men in Oakman's field house Thursday afternoon.
The majority of Franks' speech served to encourage the players to become leaders in their school, their families and the community.
"Winning or losing ... a leader leads every time. A leader doesn't pout and walk to the sideline yelling at the coaches," Franks said. "That doesn't look good, and people notice that. A leader leads for everybody else. It takes a real strong person to be a leader, and you don't have to be the best athlete to be a leader."
The mayor divulged his experiences in high school, stating he wasn't the most talented in athletics and wasn't at the top of his class academically. He said he wasn't the most popular guy in school either, but he stressed that hard work paid off in a big way.
"I never thought I would be the mayor of Oakman. I never thought I would be a police officer, and I never thought I would be doing the things that I do," he said. "I came out of Oakman High School and I was able to accomplish those things, and that's what it's all about. When you're here, you're learning discipline, you're learning direction, and you have a really good person leading you that's going to teach you those things."
Franks told the young men that he wants them to develop a sense of accountability and be grateful for the opportunity to represent their town.
"You're out there not only representing the "O" that's on your jersey. You're representing this community. You're representing your families," he said as the players nodded carefully "I really want you guys to understand how important you are to the community of Oakman. Football in a small town means so much more than it does in a bigger place, because Friday nights at 7 o'clock, those stands are packed and there's nowhere to park. The entire community comes to watch football."
He added, "Understand that you never know who's in the stands watching you. You never know which coaches from what college may be watching. That's why it's important to give 110 percent every time you play."
Franks reflected on how quickly youth fades and urged the players to appreciate each and every moment they have the privilege to play and be part of the school's history — all while cherishing the "brotherhood" of the sport.
"These things are going to end quicker than you think. High school will be done, and you're going to go into a real world where you have to provide for your family. You've got to provide for yourself," he said. "What you're doing right now is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You'll never get it back."
He lastly stressed the importance of education and being a dedicated student, as well as a man of character.
"Continue to carry yourself like a man on the field and off the field and in the classroom," he said.