Teen starts rec sports league
Having a bad attitude isn’t the way to be a good sport.
At least that’s how Sam Kimmel sees it. He has created the League of Leaders, a new organization that aims to get high school and college students more active.
Kimmel, a 2013 Homer-Center High School graduate, aims to bring people together, to meet each other and “become better people” through sports.
It started, he said, because of his friends.
“For a while it was me and my friends playing pickup games,” he said. “They’d get upset if they were losing and have a bad attitude.
As it went on, I wanted to do it (start the league) for health reasons, because a lot of my friends aren’t active and I don’t want to see them have problems down the road.”
In addition, Kimmel, 18, said he wanted to give his peers an alternative to the illegal activities that he finds are prevalent in his age group.
“There are a lot of kids in high school that get into things … drinking, that sort of thing. This (the league) would get people to blossom, step up and change the high school outlook because there’s a lot of underage drinking and drug use.”
Kimmel said he is no longer friends with some people because of their choices to participate in such activities.
So, the League of Leaders was developed, accepting high school freshmen through college sophomores, to be a part of the fun.
The league gives members the chance to participate in multiple team sports, on a rotating basis, including football, soccer, baseball and basketball.
Everyone is welcome to join the league, with one condition: “The person should be at least willing to reach out and meet new people and step up as a leader … to be on a team of people you might not even know,” Kimmel said.
Team members Kimmel doesn’t already personally know are interviewed before they are able to join.
“You can learn a lot about someone by what they’re willing to do … whether or not they’re willing to change themselves and better themselves.”
The league will officially start in May. During a trial period, Kimmel made sure people were showing up and were dedicated to the team, and getting their monthly dues of $10 in on time.
“We had our basketball championship last weekend and will be starting football now.”
Games will be held every Saturday around noon. At the end of each sport’s “season,” playoff games will be held on a Saturday with a championship game being held on a Sunday.
The current trial league has 20 team members, and he expects about 50 when the league starts full force in the spring. He has big plans for the league’s future, too.
“I’d like to see it get a lot bigger,” Kimmel said, explaining that he’d like it to become a countywide organization.“I am serious about expanding it into something bigger.”
He’s spent his free time, while he’s not working on schoolwork for his sports marketing and media degree through Full Sail University, recruiting for the league. Recently, he spoke at the Upward Bound Math and Science program held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a program geared toward high school students, and found more students that could potentially become league members.
When the season starts, Kimmel would like to draft players so each team has members that might not know each other.And, he hopes that every team will be able to play a round-robin schedule before the playoffs begin.
Right now, the league is sponsored by Indiana Regional Medical Center, and Kimmel is searching for more donors of equipment or money for equipment, and donations of facilities to use for game play.
Over the next two months, anyone is welcome to join the league by emailing Kimmel at Sam.Kimmel@gmail.com, or by visiting the league’s Facebook page, The League of Leaders. After expressing interest, an interview will be held so that the league can “get a feel for what you’re into and what kind of sports you’re interested in.”