Above Xpectations – Attitude
AX Track athletes come from all walks of life, though many come from poor, single parent families with at least one incarcerated parent and live in violent inner-city neighborhoods in Delaware, rife with drug-dealing, crime and gang activity. Given these difficult life circumstances, often our greatest challenge is in helping our athletes develop a positive and productive approach to both their sport and their academics. Once this can be achieved, the chances of success, both on and off the field, are greatly improved.
Developing a positive overall attitude within our athletes is accomplished by enabling the participants to feel as though they are part of a larger family and by providing a safe, communal environment to grow and develop as future award winning athletes and leaders. A significant factor in our ability to accomplish this goal is through our superior coaching and support staff. At AX Track, the team’s male coaches often play the role of surrogate fathers, keeping tabs on the kids about their grades and behavior; acting as liaisons with their schools and college coaches, recruiters and admission staff, helping prepare them for their SATs, to apply for scholarships and to colleges – even helping them get settled during their first year or two in college and following up with them regularly to address and challenges they may face along the way. So, in addition to being great teachers, the coaches also act as informal case managers.
This is what Brichon has to say…
“I used to have a terrible attitude. This team helped me to calm down. Before joining this team, I thought it was necessary to react in a threatening manner to anything that was said to me. In the 9th grade, my grandmom passed away. I did not know what I was going to do, but I knew two things- she would not want me to give up, and that my track team was there for me.
With my coaches in my corner and my team, they showed me that they were there for me . Any time I had a breakdown in school, my coaches came to my call. My family gave up on me because they all thought when I lost my grandmom, my life would fall apart. It took until the end of the tenth grade to understand that I still had a chance. I still had my family-my Above Xpectations family.
After all of the confusion endured while mourning the loss of my grandmother, I got myself together with the help of the coaches. I ended up doing greater than I could have imagined. That year, with hard work, dedication, and the encouragement from people who cared about me; I went on to become State Champion, an All-American, and 8th in the nation for the decathlon. I did not know I had the ability to accomplish those goals! If it was not for my coaches and team rooting me on, telling me they believed in me and had faith in me, I would never have believed in myself enough to follow my dreams.
This team helped me find comfort. This team prevented me from becoming a statistic, living the expected life of a young black male in the streets of Wilmington. AX helped me to discover my true talents and ability to achieve. They saved me from greater pain I would have faced if I had given up.”
Additionally, AX Track is able to foster a good attitude among each athlete, is by providing its athletes with the opportunity to travel (many traveling out of state for the first time). Last year, for example, the team traveled to college tours, fun trips, meets, and to large invitationals such as the Mellrose Games, ESPN Rise Games, and Washington DC.
While traveling each athlete is expected to care for themselves, take on responsibilities with the group such as meal prep and cleaning and behave in a manner reflective of their team.