By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Parents of North Attleborough student athletes have a lot to be proud of.
The Fisher Kelley Athletic Awards—which recognizes the accomplishments of the town’s athletes with awards and scholarships—was held on May 29 virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Via video, Superintendent Scott Holcomb said it was important to maintain a positive attitude during these challenging times. He said that coaches push athletes to new levels and teammates form bonds that last through the years.
“Athletics have prepared you for the future, they’ve made you strong,” he said. “It does much more, it teaches us that people are there to support us.”
A number of awards and scholarships were given out through the event. These included the MIAA Sportsmanship Award, Gerry Espinoza Award, Gary Bull DiNardo Award, and Kenneth Pickering Award, among many more. With each award, coaches spoke to the recipients and the qualities that earned them this recognition.
Michael and John Babul, both North Attleborough High School graduates, were the guest speakers for the event. Both coached for high school and college teams and today, they work for the NBA. Michael works with the Brooklyn Nets and John for the Atlanta Hawks.
“These are two of our finest basketball players we ever had,” said Athletic Director Kurt Kummer.
Michael said he learned much while at NAHS, including the value of teamwork, and he credited the skills of the coaches. He encouraged the students to have the discipline to practice each and every day.
“Dream big and chase your dreams with everything in your heart,” said Michael. “Enjoy life everyday. Life is short and you never know when it will be taken from you.”
John said that over the last 25 years, NAHS has developed a winning tradition, and it was one he has a great deal of respect for. He spoke of the gyms and fields named after great North Attleborough athletes, and that they were once students at the school. He said that while there are some of the same lockers and weights today as when the Babuls were students, they “stink of Big Red Pride.”
“You’ll have failures,” said John. “But if you have a goal and work at it every day, you’ll make it.”
In his closing remarks, Kummer said that a new tradition would begin next season—that those wearing number 20 would do so in memory of the Class of 2020. He said that the current events should serve as a lesson to seize the day and he thanked the students for their time at NAHS and the parents that supported them along the way.
“Number 20 will always remind us of this and of you,” said Kummer. “You will always have a home in North Attleborough.”