Raiders News · A Message to Teammates, Friends, and All

The Next Right Thing


Whether we know it or not, we all look at someone as our leader. Maybe it’s a parent, a coach, a teacher, a boss, or maybe a best friend, but we all have someone. A great leader can be hard to find today. Someone who is positive, continually learning, compelled to improve others, a good role model, and an effective communicator is very rare, but, to me, those qualities embody a great leader.

When it comes to me being a leader on the court and field, I try to be as outgoing to my teammates as possible. I communicate with them, I make sure everyone is united, and I pick them up when they make a mistake, just as they do to me. Those are clear things that people want to look up to and follow, but that is not all it takes to be a leader. Dealing with adversity is also vital. When things aren’t going how we want them to go, everyone looks to someone for positive affirmation and guidance. For example, during the 2019 state basketball tournament, we ran into a tough opponent in our regional championship game. At halftime we trailed by 3; this was something we didn’t expect to happen. I remember hearing my teammates say things like “we can’t hit a shot” or “we can’t get anything to go our way.” We all sat down in the locker room while the coaches chatted outside and I told them, “We are going to be okay guys, we just have to trust and believe in each other. Our shots will fall, and we have to stay positive.” I was discouraged too, but I knew this had to be said, I knew everyone needed some positive affirmation, and I knew everyone needed something to believe in. In times of doubt, no one needs to hear complaints, they need to hear reassurance from a leader.

Leadership off the court is just as important to me. As a young man of faith, leading by example and compelling others to want to be great young men and women are my main focuses. I know that I don’t want to follow someone who is always up to bad things or always being negative, I always try to be a positive light in my peers’ lives. Whether they need someone to talk to when they are struggling, or they need someone to follow when trying to do the next right thing, or they just need a high five, I try my best to genuinely provide that. Obviously, I am not the end-all authority on leadership and I am not perfect, but I try every day to improve as a friend. My life would not be the same without the encouragement and forgiveness I receive from my friends, and that makes me want to continually grow as a leader.

I want to challenge you to strive to be a great leader. Start with smiling more, giving positive affirmation to others, doing the next right thing, and showing people you genuinely care. If you can do those things, I believe you can be a bright light in others’ lives. That is something every leader wants to be and something everyone wants to follow. This world needs more great leaders and role models, so let’s start with ourselves.


Andrew Bennett

Senior 2021

Shenandoah HS