EDITORIAL: School visits a great team-building opportunity

Aug. 31—The plan to have members of the Missouri Southern State University football team, and cheerleaders, visit an elementary school before each home game is a great plan.

On Wednesday, a number of football players and two cheerleaders visited Royal Heights Elementary School in Joplin.

From everything they said, the players and kids think it's a great idea, too.

Lion receiver Ezekiel Lang told us the visit took him back to his childhood.

"This really brings back a lot of memories," Lang said with a smile. "I remember when I was in their shoes. I remember the guys that used to come when I was little and I said, 'I want to be just like him.'"

Other Lions who came included running back Nathan Glades, quarterback Luke Sampson, receiver Isaiah Green and defensive back Shadon Shannon, along with cheerleaders Lilly Westhoff and Espn Crockett

They handed out game tickets and even kicked the ball around a while with the kids.

The visits are a joint effort between MSSU Head Coach Atiba Bradley and Southern's Director of Football Operations Rylee Hartwell, who also happens to be president of the Joplin Board of Education.

This is great team-building between the Joplin School District and MSSU, and who knows, maybe the connection will lead to one of these elementary students playing for Southern a few years from now.

"The idea behind this is for the Missouri Southern football team to be able to build a better relationship between the city of Joplin and the Missouri Southern campus," Hartwell told us.

"A few years ago when we started this, I had to ask guys to come to this," Hartwell said. "Now I have guys come to me and ask to come to this."

We applaud both MSSU and Joplin for making this happen.

Keep it up!