khaner | Posted: 21 Jan 2016 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Nearly 1,000 students visit BYU for Sports Hero Day

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PROVO, Utah – BYU welcomed just shy of 1,000 students from 11 different elementary schools to participate in the annual Sports Hero Day on Thursday.

“It’s fun to be around the kids,” BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum said. “It brings back memories for me because I always came to BYU games and looked up to BYU athletes. It’s fun to come full circle.”

The students participated in various stations put together by almost all of the BYU athletics teams, excluding the basketball teams that have games today. Each station had an activity that was led by athletes from the respective sport, giving the students the opportunity to interact with their BYU sports heroes.

The last stop for the students was a pep rally run by the BYU cheer squad and Cougarettes. Following the cheers, four BYU athletes addressed the crowd: cheerleader Jessica Young, soccer player Bizzy Phillips and football players Jonny Linehan and Mangum.

Young demonstrated the importance of teamwork by bringing down a couple of volunteers to show how tasks can be accomplished easier by working together.

“Teamwork is a big aspect of all of our lives,” Young said. “You all have to contribute your part to get the final result that you want.”

The rest of the speakers focused on goals and how each of them has worked to achieve their dreams. Phillips used examples from her soccer career to teach the students how making long-term and short-term goals are a key way to make dreams happen. She also stressed that failure is not the end.

“Ideas without actions are only daydreams,” Phillips said. “You guys are more capable than you think. You should pursue what you love. You are all powerful and limitless. Build each other up and help your teammates as you go. And never be afraid to fail because the most successful people in this world have failed over and over again. It’s what you do after you fail that is important. Pick yourselves back up.”

Linehan talked about how experiences with rugby and football have taught him how important goals are. He stressed how determination and desire can go a long way.

“You can do anything if you put your mind to it,” Linehan said. “It doesn’t matter what you have going for you or against you, you can do anything. If you don’t have goals, make some. Make hard goals that will make you stretch and work hard. You should all strive to be the best you can be, and the only way you are going to achieve your dreams is by working hard every single day.”

Mangum finished off the day by talking about his goals and how optimism can help dreams come true.

“Learn from your mistakes and failures and push forward with a positive attitude,” Mangum said. “It’s good to start now to think about what you want to do when you are older so you can work now to achieve those. The best things in life don’t come easy. If it is worthwhile, it usually takes a lot of effort. Be ready to work hard, accept the challenge and embrace it.”

Sports Hero Day is just one of the ways BYU Athletics gives back to the community each year.

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