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Description: Positive Athlete Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Spring 2016 A RECORD YEAR Over 1 000 nominations from 150 Schools in Pittsburgh. 1 Table of Contents Matt Gunsallus .......................... 5 Emma Bruegger ........................ 7 Captain s Corner ....................... 8 Megan Williams ....................... 15 Riley Karn ................................. 16 Moriah McGuire ....................... 17 Kyle B. Wilson .......................... 18 Courtney Wahlstrom ............... 19 WORK HARD. PLAY POSITIVE. OPTIMISTIC ENCOURAGING SERVANT LEADER HEART FOR OTHERS ADMITS IMPERFECTIONS ALWAYS GIVES 100% PUTS TEAM FIRST Positive Athlete Magazine Volume 3 Issue 6 Chip Emerson Scott Pederson Four Winds Agency Chip Emerson Four Winds Agency CelebratePositive.com Multi-Media Editor Production and Design Editor Publisher The Positive Athlete Magazine is published monthly by Celebrate Positive LLC. Copyright 2016 Celebrate Positive. All rights reserved. Reproductions in whole or part without express written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. This magazine is available by digital download. Article ideas are welcome. Email inquiries to rpederson celebratepositive.com Celebrate Positive 9055 Forest Path Dr Su 200 Gainesville GA 30506 professionals who helped him became his friends and they still see him socially. He proved to them all that the human spirit is a force beyond defeat. Matt wasn t stopping there. His goal was to get back to baseball. And his team at Plum High stayed by his side. Regular visits from coaches and teammates reinforced the solidarity of the baseball family and Matt s determination became inspiration for others--not just people associated with baseball but his entire school. Positive Athlete Profile Name Matt Gunsallus High School Plum High School County Borough Grade Rising Senior Sport Never fall. Never give up. Baseball Coach Carl Vollmer S For Matt Gunsallus baseball is life. And thanks to his amazing attitude and the sport he loves he s getting the chance for more good times in the sun--and beyond. ometimes life throws you some real curves. That s what happened to Matt Gunsallus of Plum High School. Matt had been part of the school s baseball program since he was a freshman and was making a name for himself as left-handed pitcher. Until just before Christmas in 2012. Matt wasn t feeling well and wound up being rushed to the hospital with bacterial meningitis a disease that too often proves fatal. Fortunately Matt survived but not before he spent two weeks in intensive care and lost most of his motor and verbal skills. He was completely non-verbal and he could not walk or eat. A feeding tube through his nose provided all of his nutrition. The promising young pitcher was essentially starting his life over. For the next eight weeks at The Children s Institute Matt underwent intensive therapy. He had to re-learn to talk to feed himself and to move. Things most of us take for granted were monumental struggles to recapture. Matt took it all with a big smile on his face and the therapists nurses and other patients quickly realized they were seeing a will to win that was something special. Matt s motto during the grueling days of therapy was I will never fall and I will never give up. The medical Matt hasn t yet recovered his pitching skills but he is back on the field and is a strong voice of encouragement and an extra set of experienced eyes helping his teammates get better. He may even see a few innings at first base because while Matt wasn t giving up neither was his coach Carl Vollmer who keeps working with Matt to help him become a stronger ballplayer and individual. The next chapter in Matt s life will also be focused on giving back to others. Matt will attend Louisiana Tech University in the fall and plans to pursue a degree in kinesiology and pre-physical therapy. His mission to attain the education that coupled with his personal experience will allow others to recover from lifethreatening illness and injury. Baseball in Pittsburgh has many icons who set the standard for living positive--names like Clemente Stargell Kiner. Don t be surprised if Gunsallus gets remembered too even if he never makes it to the major leagues. n 5 Relive a Few Classic Battles 1212 Smallman Street Pittsburgh PA 15222 412-454-6000 www.heinzhistorycenter.org W hen Mt. Lebanon s swimming coach Tom Donati reviewed the Seven Definitions of a Positive Athlete he immediately thought of his amazing young student athlete Emma Buerger. She is the true definition of a Positive Athlete said coach Donati. Emma was named the 2014-15 Most Positive Girl s Swimmer on the strength of Emma and another teammate s leadership of a swim-a-thon that raised 8 000 for ALS. This undertaking involved getting approval from USA Swimming enlisting the financial support of seven corporate sponsors and the time commitment of 20 volunteers designing a logo having T-shirts printed helping implement online registrations and having participant souvenir luggage tags created. Emma communicated with officers of the Mount Lebanon Aqua Club MLHS local businesses and the ALS chapter they donated the money to in honor of her friend s former coach who was stricken with ALS. The Swim-A-Thon was a huge success with over 50 swimmers who swam periods from 30 minutes to 2 hours raffle baskets and a concession stand. Emma and her teammate are hoping to make this an annual event. This young lady also does missions trips gives free swimming lessons and teaches at vacation bible school said coach Donati. I m fortunate to have a daughter joining her team next year and as a coach and parent I am so excited that Emma Buerger is her leader. How lucky am I as the coach and dad of a teammate of Emma s . Outside the pool this senior has been elected as the Student Council Vice President every year and has performed over 180 service hours in the past 3 years. Emma has also earned straight A s throughout high school including several AP classes. Her staggering 4.9 GPA ranks her in the top 3% of ALS her class. n or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70 and approximately 20 000 Americans can have the disease at any given time. 7 Captain s Corner Language of Leaders By Craig Hillier perceived as a mistake. Of course it s important to acknowledge your great moments as well. Have you ever been around someone who has a way with words They know just the right thing to say or have the exact phrase to characterize a situation. It s remarkable how word power can make a difference in communication. I have always been enamored with people who can articulate their thoughts in a way that catches the listener s ear. Leaders pay attention to specific words and phrases particularly watching for words or phrases that may conjure negative feelings. By making subtle shifts from standard language to Leader s Language communication improves. Some people may ask Aren t you just playing with words The answer is Of course Leaders actually do play with language because using the right words in the right combination with the right tone and body language can mean the difference between gaining agreement or causing dissension. Try implementing the Leader s Language and you will be amazed with the improved connection you ll have with others. Consider these subtle shifts and why each matters Have to .....................................................Get to When you get to you no longer have to do anything. Remember you get to go to practice and participate in sports. Even if you feel you have to replace it with get to and you will feel different immediately. Confusion ...............................................Clarity If you don t understand something it s vital to get clarity from a friend teammate or coach. Confusion suggests you don t get it or weren t focused when the message or instructions were given. Asking for clarity implies you have a basic understanding but need more information. Me ..................................................................... We Regardless of your sport it s vital to create a spirit of we instead of me. When someone asks a team leader captain How is your season going It s much better to say We are. . . instead of I m doing well and then add personal stats to impress the person who is asking. Standard Language ....... Leader s Language Boast ..................................................... Blessed Too often athletes are bragging or boasting about team or personal statistics. People are drawn to people who feel blessed with their achievements and how the season is going. Change ............................... Adjust or Tweak Most people hate to change. Yet the words adjust and tweak suggests a small shift rather than a massive conversion. Mistake................................... Great Moment By saying you had a great moment you are implying you are going to learn and grow from an experience that may be Can t ............................................ Up until now The word can t builds up a mental wall that prevents people from becoming their best. Saying Up until now we I haven t been able to achieve the goal implies you are still pursuing the goal. Problem ............................................. Opportunity Most of us hate problems but we look forward to opportunities. For example a school may have a problem with school spirit or they may have an opportunity to improve school spirit by engaging their student leaders. This sucks .............. It s part of the journey When leaders say This sucks it instantly sends a bad message to everyone in the room. For example the first two weeks of an athletic season are usually filled with drills and conditioning that are not a lot of fun. When leaders say It s part of the journey it puts the focus on the future and all the hard work put in early on will pay off throughout the season. At first glance these changes may seem minuscule but implementing the slight shift from standard language to the leader s language will make huge gains in effective positive communication. Craig Hillier has been speaking to students about leadership since 1990. Craig has spoken to more than two million students in 30 states. He has written two books How to Step UP as a Leader and Playing Beyond the Scoreboard a team captain s guide to a season of significance. In 2009 www. highschoolsportsleader.com was created as a resource for team leaders and team captains. In August of 2011 www. certifiedteamcaptain.com was launched. The website features an online course filled with videos articles interviews and checklists for team leaders and captains. Contact Craig at 800446-3343 or via email at craig craighillier.com. n I don t know ..... I need more information Usually people say I don t know for one of two reasons. Either they truly don t know or they are too lazy to discover the solution. If someone asks for the answer to something and you sincerely don t know by saying I need more information you are demonstrating a desire to do research to figure out a potential solution. To be honest......... To be straight forward When someone says to me To be honest with you. . . I usually think So you haven t been honest with me up until now Leaders may need to have difficult conversations with teammates or coaches. It s possible you have to state some difficult words that may not go over well. By using the phrase To be straight forward means you are sharing what you really think without sugar coating it. PURCHASE HERE 9 In the game of life there s nothing more powerful than a positive attitude. That s why Mylan is proud to support Positive Athletes of the Year. Like these inspiring young students the team at Mylan understands the power of working hard and playing positive. That s why we ve set our sights on setting new standards in healthcare and providing 7 billion people access to high quality medicine or what we call TM delivering Better health for a better world. Mylan.com MylanNews MylanCareers 2015_Positive Athletes_Boy&Girl.indd 1 4 10 15 2 49 PM 11 M Y Y Y TO PIT T STATE W JOE EVERHART CONGR ATU TRACK XC Uniontown Area High School Nominated By Aaron Scott BOYS COACH PATRICK O CONNOR SENIOR Seneca Valley High School Nominated By Eric Grove BOYS TENNIS JESSICA JOHNSON SENIOR Connellsville High School Nominated By Michelle Johnson GIRLS RODEO ULATIONS JEN McCRADY FIELD HOCKEY LACROSSE WIDE WINNER S GIRLS COACH Fox Chapel High School Nominated By Mike O Brien COURTNEY WAHLSTROM JUNIOR Seneca Valley High School Nominated By Lynn Wagner GIRLS GOLF RYAN HARKLEROAD JUNIOR BOYS BASKETBALL CUpper St. Clair High School Nominated By Wayne Wagner 13 PARTNERS IN WORKFLOW SOLUTIONS The Wilson Group has a 30 year track record of streamlining processes increasing employee productivity and decreasing costs. Call today for a no obligation work ow analysis Visit our website at thewilsongroup.com The Wilson Group LLC A MBE DBE WBE Owned Company 801 Vinial Street 3rd Floor Pittsburgh PA 15212 412-586-7191 gymnast judge and coach Dr. Francine McCauley. While both legs were bound in casts and braces for so many months truly Megan s smile and sparkle never disappeared McCauley added. Not only did Megan make the required time for the 100 Fly she battled on to become an alternate for Upper Saint Clair state team at Bucknell University in March of 2014. Megan s positive attitude and perseverance has shown true dedication that has inspired athletes throughout her school to never give up especially when facing overwhelming odds. n Positive Athlete Profile Name Megan Williams High School Upper Saint Clair H.S. County Allegheny Grade Endurance & Perseverance Junior Sport Swimming Coach David Schraven I n every sport athletes are evaluated by their ability to endure especially against overwhelming odds. Endurance and perseverance are exactly what swimmer and honor student Megan Williams from Upper Saint Clair High School faces when battling against a degenerative disease of her bones. A positive athlete is someone who is always there for your teammates even when things are rough for you said Williams when being interviewed on the Hines Ward Show. Swimming since the age of five Megan Williams found strength to win numerous awards in spite of the many As a former gymnast judge and coach I have witnessed many a comeback but none as miraculous as young Megan Williams. surgeries performed on her young body. Her most recent procedure required both right and left legs to be in casts for several months. But Megan s desire to swim surpassed the pain that she endured in her wheelchair. She attended every meet in support of her team and with the help of that same team she eventually fought her way back to the pool. I have witnessed many a comeback but none as miraculous as young Megan Williams states former Megan has been swimming since the age of 5 winning numerous awards in spite of a degenerative disease of her bones requiring several surgeries on both legs over the past few years. She s had to watch her team from the sidelines with both legs in a cast and most of the time in a wheelchair. But never once did she feel sorry for herself or doing anything but cheer on her teammates. Amazingly her positive attitude helped her get back into the pool last January and Megan became an alternate on the Upper St. Clair swim team. A remarkable story of courage...and she s with Hines now... 15 iley Karn will approach his senior year of baseball at Fort Cherry High School with optimism but it wasn t that long ago when Riley figured he would never play baseball again. As a freshman Riley was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia. While playing baseball he continued to go through chemo treatments. Even though Riley was not a starter last year he did not give up and continued to work hard to return to the level of play he was at before being given this shocking setback. Even though the treatments wore him down you never saw him show anything but a positive attitude said his mother Lisa. It s amazing to me that he maintained a high grade point average and was even an honor student . My goal was to come back do the best I could do and be a part of the team said Riley who was also named the 2014-15 Most Positive Baseball Athlete last June. Riley was also accepted into the Fort Cherry Chapter of the National Honor Society and elected Junior Class President. Additionally Riley formed a team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society s Light The Night Walk and raised over 3 300 of which 90% was raised by Riley himself. Family and friends have helped me through everything said Riley. Everyone had my back . u POSITIVE ATHLETE NOTE Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer involving blood and bone marrow. This type of leukemia progresses at a fast rate and strikes about 6 000 people a year. About two thirds of those affected are children. To help Riley and others fight this battle find out more information at https www.lls.org T he 2014-15 Most Positive High School Girls Softball Athlete came from McGuffey High School in Claysville PA. Moriah McGuire is now a senior and the epitome of a Positive Athlete. I have known Moriah since she was a student in my 8th grade Geography History class said her former teacher Tami Simala. I saw as a student how dedicated she was to her studies and her academic goals even then at 13 14 years of age. Since then I ve gotten to know Moriah more outside of the classroom and she continues to impress me with her dedication to be a positive role model for those around her whether peers or children she has worked with . Whether is it in the classroom where she has a 4.0 GPA and is ranked 1 in her class of 151 students or on the softball field where she is one of the top players in the state and was selected to play in the International Cup in the Netherlands last January. Or in the community where she participates in Aluminum for Service Dogs Operation Smile Variety s My Bike Program Paws for Mobility Multiple Sclerosis and the Make a Wish Foundation. For Moriah it s all about making positive contributions to your team school and community said Ms. Simala. And for someone so talented Moriah s humility is the first thing people will tell you about her. Everything I am comes from those in my life who inspire me said Mariah. My parents and my coaches are incredible role models in my life . u POSITIVE ATHLETE NOTE Moriah s passion for service dogs is undeniable. If you would like to support her passion as well check out https www.pawswithacause.org 17 HONORING THE LATE KYLE B. WILSON H Positive Athlete Pittsburgh To Honor The Late Kyle B. Wilson Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School education said Kyle s father Derrick. It was our hope to keep Kyle s legacy alive through the scholarship fund . To date the fund has awarded more than 79 000 in scholarships benefiting 28 deserving students in Western Pennsylvania which include a 10 000 endowment fund at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School and a 15 000 endowment with the Poise Foundation. And this Spring in a new partnership with Positive Athlete Pittsburgh Kyle s legacy will grow with an award sponsored by The Wilson Group called the Positive Solutions Award . The award includes a 1 000 college scholarship given to a student-athlete who has helped others on their team school and or community create a positive solution to a difficult situation. In addition to the scholarship recipients of the Kyle B. Wilson Scholarships will meet former Steelers great Hines Ward. Although I never had the honor of meeting Kyle you can tell he was the epitome of a Positive Athlete said Hines Ward. We are proud to be partnering with the Kyle B. Wilson Scholarship Fund and will be excited to meet each of this year s recipients at this Springs s C Harper Positive High School Athlete Awards . Learn more about Kyle and how you can contribute to the Kyle B. Wilson Scholarship Fund by visiting kylewilsonscholarshipfund.org. u ad the Positive Athlete Pittsburgh program been in existence in 2008 there is no doubt that one of the recipients for an award would have been Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School s Kyle Wilson. Wilson was a starting halfback at Pittsburgh Central Catholic but more importantly an extraordinary young man who could light up a room with his smile. The outsized 5-foot-6 junior tailback s positive attitude was big radiant and infectious. No one couldn t help but be caught up in the way his joy for life could fill up a room. But at the tender age of 17 on October 28 2008 when Kyle was really hitting his life s stride he suffered from an undiagnosed vertebral artery dissection that ultimately took his life. The entire community especially Pittsburgh Central Catholic high school was stunned and students walked around the hallways in silence. Kyle s parents Derrick and Lisa lead the healing by quickly honoring Kyle s memory with the establishment of the Kyle B. Wilson Scholarship Fund a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The fund was created to keep Kyle s legacy alive while assisting students and their families who find themselves in extraordinary financial circumstances. The scholarship s funds are intended to help students and their families pay for the many expenses related to a quality S eneca Valley High School s Courtney Wahlstrom heads into her senior year as one of the true positive leaders on her Girls Golf team. Instead of focusing only on herself Courtney chooses to help and guide the freshman with golf rules course and playing knowledge through practices and matches. She is an accomplished golfer leading the team in scoring and qualifying to play in WPIAL finals. Her coach Lynn Wagner says that not only is Courtney a great golfer but handles a tremendous load off the course as well. Courtney juggling practices and matches with her commitment to both marching and jazz bands like nobody I ve ever seen before said Coach Wagner. She is a very positive active enthusiastic and impactful young woman . Add to golf and marching band an early-day involvement with a youth faith group and maintaining a 4.5 GPA and you can easily see what Coach Wagner is talking about. Courtney is also involved in National Honors Society Science Honors Society and District 5 Honors Band. And to top it off she s the church organist and a youth church leader. My parents helped me do everything I ve ever wanted to do said Courtney as she was awards the 2014-15 Most Positive High School Girls Golf Athlete by Hines Ward last May. I also appreciate that Coach Wagner pushed me and allowed me to be the person I am on and off the course . u POSITIVE ATHLETE NOTE With a class standing of 110 of 550 students at Seneca Valley Courtney hopes to attend BYU next Fall and pursue a career in international humanitarian aid and music performance. 19