A new sports tradition at NSA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

For four years, Glenn Rountree was a starter on the Clemson University football team. In 1998, he was drafted into the NFL by St. Louis, went on to play for Carolina, Denver, Green Bay and Philadelphia, and later spent some time with the NFL Europe’s Barcelona.

But even after playing in front of millions around the globe, Rountree still says his most memorable gridiron moments came back on the fields of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

&uot;The best times I had were here,&uot; Rountree said to NSA’s fall athletic community Tuesday evening at the school’s first Varsity Night. &uot;Looking out on the field and knowing that I was playing with my two brothers was one of my most memorable moments, and the other was Nov. 22, 1991, the night we won the state title.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

The Night, which girls athletic director B.J. Riddick called, &uot;a new tradition,&uot; was created to honor members of all varsity sporting events.

At the end of every season, Riddick said, &uot;We honor our athletes with banquets. We thought, why not honor them at the beginning after they try out and make the team?’&uot;

Before becoming an athletic director, and before that, a teacher, Riddick herself experienced the benefits of NSA athletics as a student in its first graduation class.

&uot;Athletics have played a very, very important role in my life, both as a student and a teacher,&uot; said Riddick, who played softball and basketball and currently coaches the golf team. &uot;I’m big on traditions, and this is a mighty fine one.&uot;

She also had the privilege of teaching Rountree’s kindergarten class.

&uot;He was just like every other kindergartner,&uot; she said. &uot;He loved ‘Duck, duck, goose,’ he loved jumping rope, and he loved chasing girls around.&uot;

Rountree, who graduated from NSA in 1992 and now works as the Isle of Wight extension agent for Virginia Tech (probably not the easiest work for a Clemson graduate!), remembered what NSA had done for him.

&uot;If I was thinking of what (the school) means,&uot; he said, &uot;the very first thing would be leadership.

&uot;(The athletes) are fortunate to have the leadership that this school has. The parents, the teachers, the coaches all work together to help you become the best you can be. This has always been a great family to be a part of. You have a load of opportunities come up, both academically and athletically. Use the many resources that you have.&uot;

After his speech, the athletes were given their jerseys for the upcoming season, which for the football team for which he once played, begins Friday. Such a banquet, with other speakers, will also be held before the winter and spring seasons from now on.

&uot;This is truly the foundation for the beginning,&uot; he said. &uot;We are here to honor you (the athletes), because you have chosen to play sports on top of your academics. You are to be commended for that.&uot;