By BRAD CROWE – Dispatch Sports
The Powerade sports drink brand is known for providing the hydration and electrolyte support athletes need to be their best. Perry Central High School athletes now know the brand also supports them in other ways as well.
Players and coaches on the Bulldog baseball team were joined at this past Tuesday night’s game by Derek Underwood, Haley White and Caleb Jones from Coca-Cola United for the presentation of a $5,000 check awarded to the team as winners of Powerade’s 2021 Power Your School contest.
In support of the role athletics and extracurricular activities continue to play in the growth of high school students and their communities, Powerade chose to sponsor a local baseball program this season with a grant to help them swing for the fences. Head coach Ryan Jackson and the Bulldogs were one of many teams throughout Mississippi and Louisiana who entered an essay or video into the contest, emphasizing their passion for the game and the significant change it continues to make in the lives of those who participate.
“When I took the head coaching position here at Perry Central three years ago, I underestimated just how challenging it was going to be,” Jackson shared in the video. “But I’ll tell you what: It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. I’m very lucky that I get the opportunity to come to work every day and help these young men prepare for life outside of high school.
“When these guys graduate, I’m going to be more concerned with the types of husbands, fathers and community leaders they can be than how they’re going to be remembered as a baseball player. Those of us who know how hard life can be know that the determination and mental toughness it takes to compete on an athletic field helps to prepare us when the stakes are higher later on in life.”
The grant will play a role in providing the Bulldogs with numerous facility upgrades for the 2022 season, which have already begun coming to life and allowing the team to prepare more comfortably and confidently for the challenges that lie ahead of them.
“This will provide a huge head start on the maintenance necessary to allow us to play and practice on our field during the wettest part of the year,” Jackson explained. “We will need to be on the field as much as possible to compete in the tough 3A district we are entering into. Our boys will be ready for the challenge.”