What could student athletes learn about leadership from a goofy blue horse? Surprisingly, a lot.
On Thursday, high school athletes and from the Indiana Crossroads Conference attended an annual leadership symposium at Park Tudor School.
“It’s a day where principals and athletic directors and students come together to talk about the Indiana Crossroads Conference, issues that come up in our communities, and how to strengthen student leadership within our schools,” said Sarah Webster, Director of Upper School at Park Tudor.
It was also a chance for students to share ideas, grow as leaders, and take what they learn back to their schools and put it to use.
One of the people brought in to facilitate that process was motivational speaker Kevin Wanzer.
“It may seem like we all come from such different schools, but we are way more alike than we are different,” he said. “And once you discover what you have in common, you can now celebrate your differences.”
And Wanzer brought in his pal, Colts mascot Blue, to help.
Because no one knows how to celebrate, spread happiness, love, and acceptance like Blue.
(Unless, of course, you’re a fan of the New England Patriots.)
After participating in a few fun activities, Blue bid farewell. And Wanzer welcomed his next guest.
“This is Trey, Trey Mock. He is Blue.”
“They don’t allow me to speak at my job,” said Mock. “They’re like, ‘We don’t want you to talk. We want you to go hop in costume.’ So, this is a new venture for me.”
But wearing a costume every day does allows him some unique opportunities.
“Blue can come in and just give a hug and make someone laugh. Without being able to speak, I can still speak to people’s hearts and connect with them,” he said. “It’s literally the best job in the world.”
Just like he hides behind a mask to play Blue, Mock told the students many people hide behind a mask on social media – without even knowing it.
“What a lot of us say on social media, we wouldn’t say to someone’s face. We wouldn’t say it out of costume to someone,” he said. “Has anybody ever seen ‘The Mask’ with Jim Carey? In that movie, he puts on this mask and he turns into this wild and crazy character. And in the movie, he states that whatever is inside of you that’s yearning to come out – that’s what the mask does.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way in real life.
“The power of the positive impact you can make in costume and that connection with people, you can do that on social media. But to be able to hide behind something, it makes it so much easier to do something that might be out of bounds.”
It’s a message he hopes the students will embrace, emulate, and encourage when they get back to their schools.
“We are all leaders here in this room. If you want to see change, don’t look to adults to make those changes,” Mock said. “You in five, ten years are going to be the leaders of your community. So, if you want to see change happen, make that change. Be that change.”
Kids don’t need adults to make change.
And they don’t need a blue suit to spread love, kindness, and acceptance wherever they go.
As it turns out, students can learn a lot from Blue.
And so can the rest of us.