Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why School Sports Matter

Originally published on my educational technology blog New Adventures in Professional Development

On Friday night my family and I headed out to watch my dad coach high school football in what is one of our area’s biggest rivalry games. The first person I saw when I entered the stadium was a former student of mine who had recently moved and was starting sixth grade at the middle school where the game was being held.
“Hi Mr. Losik, ” he waved wearing a messy shirt that had kind of become a trademark of his over years he was in my classes. This boy had struggled socially and academically throughout as his mom struggled around the poverty line supporting him and his two siblings. “I am doing cross-country. We are running at halftime,” he said with a huge grin. I gave him a high five and told him I would be watching.
Well, it wasn’t much of a game with my dad’s team out in front by a lot most of the way. As I wandered back from the concession stand at halftime, there was my former student lining up with the rest of the middle school cross-country team to run their half mile under the lights in front of the big home crowd.
As the kids took off, the boy so excited to be on the team immediately fell  behind the others. As I watched I realized I was standing next to his mother. I told her I missed her other children but was happy they were at a great new school where my daughter attends and wife teaches. I noticed tears starting to well up in her eyes as her son fell even further behind.
“He must be in so much pain,” she said. “He has no fluid in his hips,” reminding me of the degenerative disease he has and how when he was in kindergarten we would make accommodations  for him sitting for stories.
As the middle schoolers began to finish, the crowd cheered until almost all had completed. The boy we were watching was still almost 300 m from finishing. That was when something really special happened. The other runners gathered at the finish line  turned and ran back to meet the boy who carried his obvious pain on his face. With only the homestretch left, the entire team surrounded him. There was new life in his step and together they all sprinted the remaining distance in front of a great ovation.
Two neighboring towns had turned out to watch a football game, but it was the little kid in the dirty shirt and the elation he showed as crossed the finish line that gave me my biggest thrill.
School sports do matter and I am sure the kids on the varsity team that secured a playoff spot and gained another year of bragging rights over their neighbors got a lot out of it but I highly doubt Friday Night under the lights impacted their lives like it did the young man’s who greeted me at the gate.

No comments:

Search The News and Comment

The Web News and Comment

Blog Archive

Google Analytics