From the outside, the hype over region athletics may not seem that exciting, but for the athletes training each day, it’s a huge part of their high school or college careers. While that may not appeal to everyone, it’s exactly what Jackson Long, a senior at Lake Central High School, loves about the area.
Long is the face behind the #PushForTheRegion movement on Twitter, and someone working to create a bond between region athletes. Noticing a lack of attention for the talented athletes around him, he decided to do something about it.
“I had a couple of talks with my parents about how there seems to be a lack of media attention in this area for our athletes. So I typed up a small letter and sent it out to a lot of top athletes in the area that I’m friends with and we put it together and built something special,” Long said.
That idea was the #PushForTheRegion hashtag and bracelets. After selling over 300 bracelets and the hashtag returning hundreds of results on Twitter, it’s clear the idea is making an impact and inspiring region athletes to take pride in their hometowns.
“The push for the region movement was really started to bond together the athletes of Northwest Indiana. It’s helping bring attention to our area because a lot of the time the places in Indiana that are thought of as having the best athletes are South Bend and Indianapolis. We wanted to show that we have some kids that can play up here too,” said Long.
The bonding isn’t the only good thing coming out of this campaign, though. Long decided to take the money earned from selling the bracelets at $2.00 each and donate it to the Lake Central Special Education Sports Programs. They’ve raised over $500 for the program, which Long says he got involved with last year.
“I got involved with the West Lake Foundation last winter and I was looking for somewhere I could make positive impact. When I went there it was like a big family,” Long said.
The message sent from the campaign is one of unity and pride. The level of support received has been amazing to Long, who says he never expected this much attention over it. He hopes that people go beyond using a hashtag, though, and really live the message behind it.
“I feel it’s brought together a lot of the community and formed a lot of strong bonds with the athletes in Northwest Indiana” said Long. “In long term I hope people take the message out of it to bond together in whatever you do and do it proudly and represent where you’re from.”
Support for the region comes from region natives and shows a strong dedication to the Northwest Indiana area that they’ve called home. Support has also popped up from college athletes and people in other regions. Many are using this as a way to share their successes and support their fellow athletes in their endeavors to reach the college level and higher.
For those interested, bracelets are still for sale and available by contacting Long on twitter. @jacksonlong44
To see more of these tweets, visit Twitter and #PushForTheRegion.
A special "Thank You" to Amy Blaker for introducing us to this story!