Inspire with a smile

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Sometimes, a simple smile is contagious — a positive act of encouragement that can turn someone’s day for the better.

The South Lafourche boys’ basketball team can attest to that.

For the past several months, the smiles of their senior manager have helped them push through the rigors and stresses of a varsity basketball season.

Tarpons senior Geo Jimenez’s positivity has inspired the Tarpons this season — a positive energy that is infectious and energizes students at the small, community school on a day-to-day basis.

Geo is a special needs student, but he doesn’t let his struggles stop him from enjoying life — every, single second of every day.

This year, he joined the Tarpon basketball team as a manager and his energy has helped inspire the team, while also working hard to help his classmates.

“He’s been a pleasure to be around. The kids love him. He’s always smiling — always laughing. Sometimes, we have to tell him to tone it down a little bit,” Tarpon boys’ basketball coach Brian Callais said with a laugh during a radio interview. “He’s been a great addition and a valuable member to our program.”

Last week, Geo got rewarded for his work throughout the season.

On Senior Night at South Lafourche High School, the Tarpons honor all of their outgoing players and managers for their commitment throughout their careers.

For Geo, the senior night surprise came in the form of a uniform and warmup attire.

Callais and coaching staff decided to allow Geo to warmup with the Tarpons’ junior varsity team before taking on South Terrebonne on Tuesday night.

And he took full advantage.

During the 20-minute warmup session, there was never not a smile on the senior manager’s face as he went through drills with his classmates.

He made two layups during the routine and his passes were on point. As he scored, his teammates roared to show their approval.

Members of the varsity team watched from the stands to see how he’d do. They, too, liked what they saw.

“He’s been great,” senior Trey Gallagher said of having his friend with the team this season. “He’s a trip. He’s always smiling — laughing. He keeps things fun for us.”

The Tarpons won the junior varsity game over the Gators.

But it was perhaps what happened after the varsity game that has become the young man’s calling card with the team.

It was a hard-fought game. The Tarpons started slow, but picked up steam late — reversing a deficit to take the lead in the second half to secure a win.

After the ballgame, Geo went to the locker room with the team where he did his calling card throughout the season.

He danced with the team to celebrate the win — a tradition the team picked up early in the season.

Just days before, Callais asked the senior manager what dance he’d do for the next win.

“Maybe the floss,” Geo said with a laugh.

He delivered and didn’t disappoint — a memory the Tarpons will cherish forever to end their 2018-19 season.


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