Enjoyment, inspiration, family and friendship were the keys to motivating these athletes to greatness and a life of giving back to their community. James Banks, Wayne Swinford, Dick Hudson, Kent Lawrence and Ron Wetherbee were all outstanding athletes as young men, in basketball, football, baseball and soccer, at the college level and for some, the pros.
In a panel discussion led by Hudson, the men talked about their earliest influences and reflected on a time in their lives when they knew they could be an outstanding athlete. Then they switched the discussion to volunteering. They agreed in one way or another with Hudson's saying, "if you spread sunshine around, you're bound to get some on yourself." Wetherbee commented that he began to volunteer as a boy, when his coach insisted that team members start giving back to their communities.
Banks, who works with kids in sports both professionally at Athens Academy and as a volunteer at neighborhood centers, said he tries to give young athletes encouragement and influence them to make good decisions.
One audience member asked "How do you balance a busy career life and volunteerism with family life?" Swinford, who had an outstanding career in football at UGA, and later played for the San Fransisco 49ers, explained how he once turned down a coaching opportunity that would have kept him on the road because he valued being near his family as his children grew up.
Listen to this interesting and heartwarming discussion . Please pardon the static produced by the air conditioner. It doesn't last long, and happens only once. Keep listening past the static for an enjoyable experience.