Thursday, October 6, 2011

A sweeping glance at the first two weeks!

So far, it’s been a great first couple of weeks at Project Coach. Our blue-shirt high school coaches have stepped up big to plate, showing tremendous leadership with the elementary students both on the field and in the classroom (or, in the case of Brightwood elementary, in the basement cafeteria!)

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Project Coach is thrilled to be extending it’s impact in the lives of the 130 elementary students that participate in the program in Springfield’s north end. For the first half of our sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays,  a spirited team of redshirts, blueshirts, elementary schoolteachers fuse together to tutor, teach and encourage sports literacy.  In just the past few weeks at Brightwood elementary, we’ve accomplished incredible things!  From mastering multiplication tables with the third graders, to  reading Jackie Robinson’s sports biography to fidgety fourth-graders, to facilitating a fiery session of sports trivia, our blue shirts have exhibited their remarkable knack for connecting with their players.

On deck for next week, thanks to one of our enthusiastic Brightwood teachers, we'll start afternoon sessions with a short yoga lesson, giving students a time to stretch out the mid-afternoon squirminess and focus on their schoolwork. Can you say Namaste!?

On the fields, gleeful shouts, joyful laughs, and whetted whistles compete to be heard. As the teams have begun to bond and gel, parleying over team names and huddle cheers, it feels like we're sinking in to the season. Today, during the closing huddle with the Bluejays, the third grade team from Brightwood, I couldn't tell-- was it the crispness of the fall air or the warmth of our now-familiar huddle that gave me chills, when Xaiver, the Jays' smallest player with the biggest grin, congratulated the rest of his team for the "awesome teamwork we did today." After Coach Bryant counted them off, "Teamwork on three, Jays! ONE TWO THREE," the erupted roar of "teamwork" is still ringing in my ears.

Video by Ashley Niles
Story by Cait Scudder
Project Coach Graduate Fellows 2011-12

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