Athletes make a multitude of sacrifices, not only physical ones, over the course of an entire year, especially those who compete in multiple sports.
Last Monday night honored all the high school athletes who donned Sealy’s black and gold colors during the 2018-2019 school year at the Sealy Athletics All-Sport Banquet in the Golson Auditorium.
The man running the show, literally and figuratively, Athletic Director Shane Mobley took to the podium to kick off the evening by thanking the various individuals who helped get this year off as successful as it was. It certainly took a village and everyone who chipped in was given a tip of the cap before the awards began.
“Our fans, our community, all of our sponsors, anyone who has helped with an event from a track meet to a softball, baseball, football all the above, if you have done anything to help us thank you so much,” Coach Mobley said. “There’s too many to say thank you to but for everything you do, thank you.”
He then targeted a specific group of people in the audience to submit another token of appreciation.
“Parents, if you have an athlete in here, I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting your trust in us and the coaches,” Mobley said. “Every one of these coaches, myself included, we have a passion for what we do and the main thing is it’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s not the schemes or game planning but it’s trying to help your son or daughter prepare for later in life … We have high expectations and a love for your son or daughter so if you’re a parent, thank you very much.”
From there, he introduced one of the top athletes of the year, Clay Roberts, to be on the other side of the award and honor someone who “exemplified the pride of being a Sealy Tiger.”
“This man has been to virtually every football, basketball and baseball game I've ever suited up for,” Roberts started out. “He has donated countless hours cooking for the track meets, assisting coaches, helping with the Ricky Sealy and T.J. Mills golf tournaments as well as selling tickets for every Tiger event known to man ... He has been my biggest fan throughout my time as a Tiger and I am extremely proud to announce this year’s winner of the ‘Ole Man’ Award is my grandfather, Toby Roberts.”
After that, each squad made their way up to the stage where their coach recounted how they fared this season and how they couldn’t have done it without the team’s most valuable player while also honoring those who earned all-district or all-state commendations as well.
Once all the teams got their time in the limelight, the special awards were given out and the first one, “goes to someone that has some hardships and struggles and it’s just not fair, life’s not fair but they’ve handled it pretty well,” according to presenter Ray Dabney.
He told a story about how this young woman was giving it her all at the regional track meet at this time just year but ended up falling just short of qualifying for the state track meet before falling a little under the weather.
“Halfway through football, volleyball season she started not feeling well,” Dabney explained. “She went to doctor, after doctor, after doctor and I still don't know if they’ve nailed down her issue, but she smiles and I'll even ask her, ‘are you OK?’ And she says, ‘I hurt, I hurt every day,’ and so when you go to bed tonight say a little prayer for Marleeza Williams because every day is a struggle for her and she’s not here tonight, but she gets the Jeff Barry Award.”
Next up was the Tigerette Award which went to an athlete who “works her tail-end off in multiple sports, whether it’s on the court or on the diamond, this young lady gets after it,” said Coach Dabney. “And I’m happy to say that this young lady shares my last name; Diari Dabney.”
The Lady Tiger Pride Award was given to “a multi-sport athlete who is not only passionate about the sports that she plays but also Sealy Tiger sports in general,” said presenter and head volleyball coach, Kim Boyd. “This year’s Lady Tiger Pride Award goes to Zoee Jeffrey.”
The Coaches’ Choice Award went to “a multi-sport athlete who goes above and beyond what the coaches are expecting,” Boyd explained. “She’s a great team player and a very coachable athlete, she split time between two sports this spring while making it to Area (on the track), our Coaches’ Choice Award goes to Faith Haugen.”
Coach Mobley re-took the mic to present the next award, the T.J. Mills Award and “it’s based on athletes who work so hard and may not get the recognition, they may have it academically, or the physical aspect of a sport but they’re the first ones in and the last ones to leave,” Mobley said. “When we tell them to do bear crawls, up-downs, and we tell them we got 40 100-yard sprints, they don’t pout. They also take care of the classroom and take care of their teammates, they bust their tail through everything we ask them to do and a lot of times it’s before we even ask them. This year’s winners of the T.J. Mills Award are Makaylah Scott and Derek Bollinger.”
Last but certainly not least was the Ricky Seals Award, “which is one of the highest awards on the male side,” Mobley established. “I’ve been told a lot about Ricky Seals and when it comes to the family I know there is a lot of pride in the community and this does go to an athlete who goes above and beyond who is a multiple-sport athlete, good in the classroom, never back-talks a coach.
“It is a very, very distinguished, high award and usually it goes to a senior and so this year it wasn’t hard for us to make the decision because this young man in football led the district in receptions while starting on defense, then he turns around and starts on the basketball team and right now he is the starting center fielder for the baseball team with one of the best batting averages on a team that is making its way into the playoffs; he also ran track and he played golf so there’s no doubt this young man has received and earned this award wholeheartedly for everything he has done throughout his career here at Sealy High School. I just know that I am very blessed to have been able to spend two and a half years with this young man and so it is an honor for me to recognize with the Ricky Seals Award, Clay Roberts.”
Coach Dabney then took over announcing duties and brought up one more award that he wanted to make sure did not get overlooked.
“I have to thank a young man that when he first got here, he did some things and it shook up the place,” he said. “I remember the first time I met him he asked if I was going to the regional meet and I said ‘no I don’t go to the regional meet,’ and he goes, ‘well you need to, I'm gonna drive you.’
“I tell kids all the time, you don’t understand the love that he brought to Sealy ISD, I've been here for a number of years and he just does something different,” he said, confirming to Coach Mobley he was indeed the subject of his words.
“My dad told me to always give flowers to people while they’re living, and I think about that because he has brought something special to Sealy ISD and I have witnessed it from the inside out,” Dabney noted. “Because not only does he hold his coaches accountable, not only does he allow them to coach their tail-end off, not only does he hold the student-athletes, both boys and girls, accountable, he also has discipline and he goes above and beyond.
“He is everywhere, and you can tell he genuinely loves your children, period. He fights for them all the time, whether he’s fighting to get them a scholarship or get them to the next level, whether he’s trying to get them to do right in the classroom, he is doing what he has to do so without further ado, I just wanted to pass this to the District MVP-Coach, Coach Shane Mobley.”
From there, the seniors were bid their farewells from the high school sports arena and were wished good luck in their future endeavors in what signaled the beginning of the end of their time in Sealy High School’s halls.