By Josh Beavers
Two weeks ago, the Journal sat down for an interview with Lakeside softball coaches Roo Johnson and Emily Maness. The focus of that story was to see what made the athletic programs down in Sibley go round and to also highlight something unique in local school sports. There are five separate teams helmed by female head coaches. That’s a remarkable achievement at any level much less a school with a high school enrollment of less than 300.
Today the Journal publishes the second part of our series that poses questions to these women about the importance of sports programs and the unique difference between a male coach and a female coach when it comes to mentoring young women in athletic competitions.
Next up is Rendi Dillard (high school girls basketball) and Fabrecia Roberson, who coaches girls track and field and the newest athletic program – powerlifting.
The Journal: What do you love about coaching and teaching at Lakeside?
Dillard: Lakeside is a wonderful place to work due to the culture that has been created there. Having pride in everything you do is an important concept to me, and that is something that is being pushed there daily.
Roberson: The Lakeside faculty and staff are like one big family. That makes coming to work everyday easy when you work alongside people you enjoy being around. Coaching has been great because of the support of the administration. That is something that was an immediate positive for me being here. Mr. [Lakeside principal Denny] Finley and his staff do a great job backing their coaches and helping them in any way they can.
The Journal: What is your hope for the athletic programs in the future?
Dillard: The future is about success but not just in terms of winning seasons. Success in the sense of getting more females involved in athletics. In the near future we envision girls beating down the doors to be a part of our teams. I would love it if we had to have try-outs because we had too many girls wanting to participate.
Roberson: I hope that one day in the near future, the athletic programs at Lakeside will be forces to be reckoned with in this area and the state. Lakeside (Sibley High) has a rich history of excelling in sports, I hope that we can get back to that soon.
The Journal: Lakeside is unique in the fact we are a small school but have several female coaches. Do you think female athletes relate better to you than they would a male coach? Why?
Dilard: Yes, nothing against our male coaches but I think the fact that we have several female coaches is a huge advantage for female athletics at Lakeside. In certain situations I do think that the girls relate better to female coaches. We understand things about girls that a male coach may not understand quite as well.
Roberson: We also understand how important it is to advocate for girls athletics in general. Having several female coaches that get along and can work together for all female sports, not just the one they are coaching, is a huge advantage and you will begin to see great things happen.
The Journal: Why do you love coaching in general? What made you want to become a coach?
Dillard: I love coaching because I love making a difference in young people’s lives. As a coach you are competitive and love to win. You love trying to be the best and inspire the best. You love watching those athletes master a skill and show confidence on and off the court. However to me, the biggest win is watching the kids grow and become great people. People who understand teamwork and what it takes to work hard and set a goal. And then reach that goal. Sports teaches you so many lessons that have nothing to do with that sport in general. They are lessons that can be used in many areas in your life after you have long walked away from that court or field.
Roberson: I love to help people. When I attended school at Sibley HS, there were so many people in the community (my teachers included) that helped and supported me through my career. I want to be able to return the favor and give back to my community by helping the next child succeed.
Look for more stories about Webster Parish athletics in the weeks ahead.
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