Barnhart offers advice to athletes

Guest Speaker Adam Barnhart provides the keynote address during the 30th annual Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Sports Award Banquet at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

JOHNSTOWN — In 1995, Adam Barnhart was a senior at Johnstown High School and in the audience at the Fulton Montgomery County Regional Chamber of Commerce Sports Award Banquet when his name was called as the Fulton County Male Athlete of the Year.

Since then, Barnhart’s journey has taken him to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., on a baseball scholarship before transferring to the State University of New York at Cortland to play football and baseball.

His teaching and coaching career started in Virginia but ultimately brought him back to his alma mater before moving on as athletic director and now director of health, physical education/assistant principal at Broadalbin-Perth High School.

Barnhart’s circle became complete Wednesday as he returned to the banquet, only this time as the keynote speaker for the 30th Annual Sports Award Banquet sponsored by the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I am very thankful to be a part of this as a past recipient,” Barnhart said. “I have been in a position that nominates athletes for this award and now to be here as a presenter. I want to take a second to say congratulations to all of you who have made it and have been nominated by your school. That in itself is an honor. You are the top athletes in your senior class. You should enjoy that and feel good about that.”

Athletes representing Gloversville and Broadalbin-Perth High Schools look on during the presentation of awards at the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce 30th Annual Sports Award Banquet Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Barnhart reflected on his experiences growing up and playing youth sports and high school sports as well as the people from the area who had an influence on his career.

Now as a parent with children coming up through the youth programs and participating in scholastic sports, Barnhart has again seen the influence the community has on shaping athletes.

“Student athletes, please make sure you are aware of all the adults in your life who help shape who you are,” he said. “Enjoy athletics and the experiences. You are making connections with people that will last a lifetime. It all started in your hometown. I have been to a lot of places and played at a high level, but your story is just starting.

“I culminated my high school days with a trip here sitting in the same seats you are sitting in tonight,” he said. “Being named the Fulton County Athlete of the Year was as big of an honor as I have ever received. Mostly because of the spectacle and how the banquet made you feel as an athlete and as a member of the community. High school athletics meant a lot to me, but the people in the community, they mean the most.”

Before presenting Ben Wager and Addie Brundage with the Fulton County Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards, Barnhart said, “This community brought me back because it is special and this banquet has been a long tradition before me and hopefully after me. Those of you sitting out there tonight; sit back and take it all in. This committee has put something together for you that you will remember forever. I sure do.”