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Benefits of Sports: A new start for a struggling town with ESPN's Rise Up


With businesses closing down all around them, the students of Wellston High School believed there was little to look forward to in life. Superintendent Boch described the situation of the town as a “state of fiscal emergency.” Wellston had a history of struggling and this was just their “reality…unfortunately [they got] used to it. [They didn’t] like it but sometimes [they didn’t] even think about it because [they were] so used to it.” Their high school was no better than the town. The cement was cracked and uneven with paint peeling off the walls or fading off the dangerous floors. The chipped concrete from dropped weights in the lifting room created a hazardous surfacing that students were prone to trip on.

ESPN’s Rise Up heard about this dejected town and decided to give the students and the community its confidence and motivation to succeed back. Reaching out to Rubber-Cal, they replaced the unsafe floors with a rubberized surface that was both visually appealing and safe. With a naturally high coefficient of friction, rubber floors enhanced the traction and grip so that students were better protected from slips. The softer material also resisted impact from dropped weights or heavy machinery so that the equipment would not be damaged over time. This extra protection for students and equipment alike from these durable floors ensured that the gym would remain in good shape for a long time.

When the students and faculty raced into the gym to see its completed renovation, they gasped at the bright and beautiful athletic areas, in awe of the transformation of each room. Superintendent Boch even exclaimed that it was “unbelievable … [she] couldn’t even fathom that [the] weight room could look like that.” With a stunning and modern gym, “the pride was through the roof” and many claimed that it was “definitely more than a renovation … [it was] a fresh start for Wellston.” The students finally had a gym that showcased their ability to survive throughout all the struggles and difficulties that the town had encountered. They would not give up the fight and vowed that the up-to-date gym was just a “starting point for something even bigger to come.”