COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — With just four days until its first live-game action of the fall, the Tennessee Tech soccer team made a slight change in its usual preseason schedule by volunteering to clean up City Lake Park on Wednesday.
Joined by head coach Daniel Brizard, the players took an hour out of their normal training time to clean up the litter and trash that has gathered at the park over the past few years. The team, which also began its annual volunteer work at Parkview Elementary School earlier this week, gathered enough trash to fill the back end of a pickup truck to be hauled and disposed of properly.
“I think it’s important,” Brizard said. “We help at Parkview Elementary, but that doesn’t always have an immediate impact on the kids or the teachers that we help. A lot of people use a park or public facility in their community. This cleanup event is outside and the team can see the impact they make right away. They can see that they cleaned the park and that it has clearly made a difference. It’s great for team bonding and I think the team really bought into it. We picked up some serious amounts of trash.”
Despite finding tires, old bottles, clothing, and even an old dirty diaper, the team still managed to turn the event into a fun time. The players ventured off the beaten path a few times to fix areas that were a real eyesore to visitors of the park. Even though the humidity made its presence felt, the team knew that the hour of volunteering was part of a bigger picture.
“We did it to try and raise awareness,” remarked Brizard. “If someone reads this story and sees what we did, they might think that it’s okay to help out the community if a bunch of young, college athletes are doing it. That’s what we are here for. Athletics is a great showcase for the school and I believe it’s important to show a very positive image for TTU.”
The team is set to participate in another community service event on Friday, one day before they test their skills for the first time this year against outside competition. The Golden Eagles will take on the Bulldogs of Tennessee Wesleyan on Saturday, Aug. 11, in an exhibition at 2 p.m. CT in Athens, Tenn.