Travelers heading west on West Main Street may notice new scenery on the side of The Pound! Bar & Grill in downtown Brighton.
The scenery comes in the form of a rather large mural on the side of The Pound, featuring two Brighton High School Senior Athletes: Hannah Pietila and Forrest Chong.
Brighton Athietics is partnering with The Pound to bring murals of student athletes three times a year to the downtown Brighton landscape. The sports bar's large brick exterior wall will serve as the canvas for six of Brighton's brightest and most talented high school athletes.
"The most important thing that I want people to realize that it's not really as much about the individual kids as it is about our schools and our community," Brighton Athletic Director John Thompson said. "It's about linking the community together - creating that sense of pride and enthusiasm. Both those kids are great kids, but it's not about Hannah Pietila or Forrest Chong, it's about Brighton. They represent Brighton."
As a member of the Brighon Varsity Golf Team, Pietila said it was cool to represent her school and team.
"I think it is cool that it is golf (being represented), because golf is small as it is. I think it's good for our team because nobody really knows we exist."
However, Pietila didn't look at the mural while driving by for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.
"I just drove by it," she said. "I kind of glanced at it, but didn't really look. It's bigger than you think. Next time, I might take a closer look."
Chong said he was happy to represent the Varsity Soccer Team and his teammates.
"It's weird to see myself in public like that, but I'm not embarrassed by it or anything," Chong said.
Pietila and Chong's images will remain up at The Pound for a little less than eight weeks. There will be a short break, then two more athlete murals will go up. Thompson said future athletes have not yet been chosen.
The student athletes are chosen based on both athletic and academic performance as well as leadership qualities, Thompson said.
"That's the hardest thing, I guarantee it," he said about choosing students. "People say, 'well how come my kid is not up there?' It's one of those types of things - honestly, I could probably put 200 kids up that have worked their rear ends off both as athletes and as students."
The murals cost about $950 and were paid for by Brighton Athletics by using non-taxpayer dollars through the athletic department's internal accounts, which are funded by gifts, donations and fundraisers, according to Thompson.
The Pound co-owner Kevin Montagano said they were very excited about the project and hopes it becomes a long standing tradition.
"We are a civic minded business so this type of partnership was a natural fit for us both because of the building, but also because we take great pride in being part of the community," Montagano said.
"The amount of support we get from all of our businesses is unlike most places - people don't realize that," Thompson said. "And that's one of our keys to success. Brighton Athletics is not just the student players and coaches out there, Brighton Athletics is the community. Everybody can be part of Brighton athletics: as a student manager, as a fan in the stands, a statistician, a videographer - that's what separates Brighton. It's one of those things I like to call the Brighton difference. What makes us unique is that there's a role and a place for everybody. It's the strength of the community that is one of our best assets."