Sixth-graders find heroes in BYU athletes

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Students practicing sports drills
Students working with BYU athletes to learn how to practice sports drills. (Gianluca Cuestas)

Buses full of sixth-grade students filled the parking lot of the BYU Smith Fieldhouse on Jan. 19 for BYU’s annual Sports Hero Day. More than 1,000 students spread throughout BYU’s indoor sports facilities to learn more about themselves while participating in various sports.

Students came from various schools around Utah County to participate in the event. Parents of the kids came to support and encourage their kids to be active and involved.

Executive Director of Sports Hero Day Courtney Fairborn has been involved with the program since she took it over after her sister graduated. Fairborn loves contributing to the event.

“I think it’s so much fun because the kids are still in that mental stage where they think of older people as heroes and they can look up to (the athletes) as real people, and to see that it’s fun to watch them grow and finally have a hero and see them aspire to something,” Fairborn said.

Business student Steven Philips worked as a volunteer and was able to see the different experiences each child had at the event.

“I think it’s just fun watching the kids thinking about how excited they get about the different sports,” Philips said.

Groups of students participated in various sporting activities for about 30 minutes before they rotated to the next activity. They participated in activities including drills for football, volleyball, softball, basketball, and many more.

Micah Hannemann, a junior on the BYU football team, shared his personal experience while training the children through different football routines. Hannemann can relate to the kids because he uses the sport as a way to get out his own emotions.

“The thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of these kids have anger in their heart… some of them their favorite part was tackling (the equipment) but it’s good to let their anger out,” Hannemann said.

Once the rotations were finished, the students gathered in the Smith Fieldhouse to attend the “Power Rally” where BYU cheerleaders performed a routine with Cosmo the Cougar.