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Athlete of the Week: Holyoke’s Guillermo Godreau-Rivera

HOLYOKE, Mass — For many people who are introduced to difficult realities growing up, it’s tough to avoid getting swooped into those troubles. For Holyoke’s Guillermo Godreau-Rivera, he has maintained a level head and escaped those woes through the game of basketball.

“The people I grew up seeing, they ended up all bad. The people that used to play for us, they ended up bad and going to jail and stuff for selling drugs,” Godreau-Rivera said, “I don’t wanna be like that.”

The senior has found a reprieve through a game he loves in addition to shattering records in track and field. Those numbers mean little to Godreau-Rivera as he knows it’s more important to establish an imprint of success to those who follow him.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids with talent and some people just put it to waste. I hate that. I don’t like it,” Godreau-Rivera said, “I’ve seen my friends do it so I don’t want it to happen to other kids. I want them to use their talent when they come to high school.”

“He does things the right way,” head coach Bill Rigali said, “He studies, he behaves, he’s already been accepted to two schools in American International College and New England College and he’s doing things he right way.”

For Rigali in his 32nd season with the program, he knows coaching at the high school level goes beyond the X’s and O’s he draws up. It is instead about building character, something he has seen in his point guard over the past four years.

“He’s grown a lot. Academically he’s improved year by year. He’s taken a leadership role year by year so that’s what high school is all about,” Rigali said, “For me as a coach and for high school programs, we want so see kids grow and see kids have the opportunity to go in the right direction and Guillermo has done that.”

The honor roll student prides himself as a role model. Now his message to the youth is to create a trail of a triumph.

“They look at me and they’re like, ‘Oh my, I wanna be like him.’ They try everything I do and stuff. It’s nice,” Godreau-Rivera said.

So often we associate an athlete’s success to what they do while in action. In reality, it’s more important to honor them for what they do outside of it.

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