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Posted on Apr 28, 2018

Green-and-gold athletes go greener for a day

On the softball team, for one day, they were all batting cleanup. On the soccer team and Unified Soccer team, for one day, they were all sweepers. And the tennis team, for one day was all about love. Love of community, that is.
Members of several Quincy High School teams spent time picking up trash around the city in the first Team Up To Clean Up event organized by the co-head coach of the tennis teams, Matthew See.
“Picking up garbage is one of the most humbling things you can do,” See said. “You realize, ‘Hey, I didn’t put it there, why do I have to pick it up.’ So I think it’s healthy and good for these kids to get out in the community and do that.”
See said he pitched the idea to his fellow spring-season coaches and they were all very supportive. Coaches like Arturo Guerrero, Mike Mills, Pauline Baughman and Theresa Sawyer all participated, as did assistant coaches.
The only teams not present during the April 11 event were those that had games that day, such as the baseball team, hosting East Valley-Yakima at the same time.
The boys soccer team picked up trash on the west end of the city, near the cemetery and Monument Elementary School. The tennis team had the southeast area, near Pioneer Elementary and East Park. The Unified Soccer team stuck close to the home base, QHS. The girls golf team cleaned the area just south of the high school, and the softball team cleaned the area just west of it, around Quincy Hardware & Lumber and The Grainery.
“We wanted to make it easy enough for (students) to walk, 15 minutes, go somewhere and pick up garbage, then walk back,” See said.
The event had some rules. Students had only a couple of hours at most to pick up trash, they could not head home and add to their haul with their own garbage, and they had to stick to their designated area.
The students collected more than 40 13-gallon bags.
“They embraced it,” See said of the task of picking up garbage. “They were excited, ‘Look at how much garbage we got!’ ”
The student who picked up the most garbage was to get a pizza from See. The honor went to Randy Hodges and Brynn Nieuwenhuis, tennis players both, who came back with bags of trash and some old tires.
“It feels good to serve your community, and one of the simplest things you can do is pick up garbage,” See said.
See added he would like to see the event continue and grow.
“Different teams could pick something they want to focus on, maybe one team wants to go cover up graffiti or something around town,” See said.
Regardless of whether it continues, the first edition was a success, even if it meant losing a day of practice for the athletes.
“Now I think kids will be a little more conscious when they walk around and see garbage or think about leaving garbage somewhere,” See said. “It was a positive experience.”

By Sebastian Moraga,