A note written to for all student-athletes to consider as the 2013 season begins to unfold:
Whether on the field, in the classroom or representing your team and community in the public, you are continuously making an impression on someone during every minute of the day.
Even as you read this, someone is watching how you conduct yourself. How you handle yourself. How you treat other people.
To that person, inside that moment, an impression is being made. Fair or unfair, a judgment is made on who you are as a person. A perception is created of who they think you are.
When I was in grade school, I remember my Dad taking me to PCL basketball games.
The players may as well have been in the NBA. They looked gigantic, could leap and touch the rim and played at a level that still seemed decades away from where I was at.
Of all the players I remember watching, two of them stood out and made a more memorable impact on me than the rest because of their skill, fundamentals and respect: Rootstown's Ryan Eskridge and Southeast's Seth Truman.
To this day, I would be surprised if either one of them remember the nights my Dad took me to meet them after the game.
I remember, though.
You may not realize it, but to at least one person, if not many, you have become the student-athlete that seems larger than life to someone else.
Now more than ever, with the explosion of social media, you are constantly being viewed. Every comment, tweet or video is out there to make an impression on someone.
Someone is watching the way you treat your peers, your teammates, your parents, your teachers, your siblings.
They're listening to the way you talk, the kind of language you use.
They're watching how polite you are to other people, how you treat the opposition, their fans, your coaches, other coaches and the referees.
Each moment that is placed in front of you is another opportunity for an impression to be made. For someone to make a judgment on what kind of person you are.
You may even be able to think of that one particular high school athlete that you looked up to, remembering how you idolized their accomplishments or tried to emulate the way they played.
For someone out there, you are that person right now.
When you graduate, you will be forever linked to your community. Alumni you have never met before will take great pride in what your life story will become simply because you graduated from the same school that they did.
And even when you aren't thinking about it, someone will be watching. The question becomes: What kind of impression are you going to make?
Facebook: Tom Nader, Record-Courier