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BRAD ROBICHAUX — Young leaders step up when called upon

There are lots of places to get it.

If you want a crash course on leadership, I can’t think of many better roads to take than team sports. Join as an inexperienced youngster, look to the veterans for guidance and learn the team culture — you’ll see what leadership is like, how leaders act and what you can learn from them.

Then, if you stick with it, you’ll find yourself becoming one of those very same veterans, and suddenly you’re the one everyone is looking to for a role model. What do you do? Do you continue to keep your head down, or do you step up for the sake of the team?

This is something that I think Britni Hunt is going through right now. The Port Neches-Groves graduate says she’s learning to be a more vocal leader on the Lamar State softball team this year since, as a sophomore, she’s now the older, more experienced player that needs to help guide the team by learning to be more forthcoming.

“Last year we already had vocal leaders on the team, and this year you have to be the vocal leader. No one else is going to do it,” she said.

Memorial’s Amaree Abram may not be quite an upperclassman yet, but the sophomore is still an experienced varsity basketball player, not to mention a point guard. His very role requires him to lead the offense on the court.

“I get my team going when we’re not executing,” he said. “I get them in sets, like if we need a bucket, I can get a bucket or I can call a set. We have many options.”

This can be tough for someone like Abram, who began on varsity as a freshman. As he put it, it felt like a 14-year-old “playing with grown men.”

Memorial basketball coach Alden Lewis acknowledged as much, too.

“He’s only a sophomore, so sometimes it’s hard for seniors to listen to a sophomore, but he’s not an ordinary sophomore,” Lewis said.

From these examples, it seems like leadership is something that is not always pursued so much as it is something that is expected. It’s a little easier to go with the flow and follow along, but at some point, I think, a desire to see the team succeed forces a new perspective, one that shows a veteran player that the team needs a unifying, knowledgeable voice to point them in the right direction. Sometimes no one is better positioned to be that voice than that veteran player.

If you haven’t been a leader before, though, how do you become one?

Like Abram and Hunt, you learn, but I don’t know that leadership is necessarily something you can learn by reading about it or sitting through a lecture about it. It seems to me sometimes, talking with these young people, that leadership is a state of mind one acquires by being in the right circumstances.

As much as there is no “I” in “Team,” there does need to be someone in the role of quarterback or point guard, but I think any good leader will always recognize that without the team, there can be no success in the first place.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at brad.robichaux@panews.com.