The semistate-bound Center Grove boys soccer team has demonstrated an ability to work in unison for a cause far greater than postseason advancement.

Trading cross-field kicks for paint brushes, the Trojans recently took time to paint the swing set next to the Smith Valley Community Center in Greenwood.

For two sessions lasting approximately 90 minutes each, players either helped apply paint to a swing set in dire need of a fresh coat or interacted with young children from the area.

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The job was completed early Tuesday evening.

Such sense of community benefits not only the children who use the swing set regularly, but also the Trojans players themselves.

“One, it builds camaraderie. Two, a lot of us come from blessed backgrounds, so doing things for others makes you feel good,” Center Grove coach Jameson McLaughlin said.

The idea to paint the swing set originated through Diane Smith, a court-appointed special advocate in Johnson County who works in the neighborhood in which the community center is located.

Smith is also the mother of Trojans junior midfielder Griffin Smith.

“One day I was thinking, ‘Who can take this on as a project?’ Then I remembered I knew 20 able-bodied soccer players,” Diane Smith said. “That little swing set is a big part of that neighborhood.”

McLaughlin said it was Griffin Smith taking the lead on this project.

An outstanding student (4.37 grade-point average) who plans to major in engineering once in college, Smith, according to his coach, was the player motivating his teammates.

“Griffin definitely got everything organized, and I think he did an awesome job,” McLaughlin said. “He’s an outgoing kid who is very smart.”

Smith, who has contributed two goals to what the seventh-ranked (Class 2A) Trojans have accomplished on the field this season, admits he initially wasn’t sold on the idea.

“At first I wasn’t completely on board, but eventually doing this seemed like the right thing to do. The kids in the neighborhood would come out and play with us, too. They seemed so happy,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling to know you made someone’s day.”

Griffin Smith estimates 15 Trojans players showed up last week to get the project started. He said “seven or eight” were present Tuesday to finish it.

Both times those who weren’t painting were playing baseball or basketball nearby.

“I feel it’s a good thing to do because a lot of the kids look at us as something bigger,” senior goalkeeper Logan Wade said. “Doing this is an attempt to perhaps better the community.”

CG boys soccer pullout

What: IHSAA girls soccer semistate

Where: Evansville Harrison High School

Semifinals: 11 a.m., Castle vs. East Central; Brebeuf vs. Center Grove

Championship: 7 p.m.

What: IHSAA boys soccer semistate

Where: Evansville Harrison High School

Semifinals: 1 p.m., Center Grove vs. Bloomington South; East Central vs. Carmel

Championship: 7 p.m.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at