Tips & Advice
- 01 July 2013
- by Charlie Harned
Playing sports in college is a truly wonderful experience. From preseason to your last game, and even during to off-season, your team is your second family. When this "second family" is looked at, they are undoubtedly judged by their wins and losses; however, there is much more to any team than their record.
At Knox College, where I play soccer and basketball, all of the teams do community service. The soccer team did more sports related service, while the basketball team did service in all facets of the community. My soccer coach planned a two week long "soccer clinic" for kindergarteners and first-graders at the local YMCA. For an hour a day, all of the soccer players drove to the gym after our workouts to help teach the kids some basic tenets of the game of soccer, like you are not allowed to use your hands (we did this by telling them "Bad hands!" whenever they picked the ball up). The kids' favorite game was "Get The Giant Out Of The Swamp," where our 6'4" Nigerian centerback was bombarded with soccer balls until he left the field.
While the basketball team certainly helped local kids with various basketball skills throughout the year, our main focus was on the poverty-stricken and disabled citizens around Knox. We helped clean up a local youth center whose focus is giving kids a place to go after school. Later in the year, we all woke up early to help paint the local center for developmental disabilities.
The benefit of all this service is two-fold. First, these activities truly help the team bond. Not only are all the team members spending time together, but by helping the community, we feel closer to each other in the process. More importantly, however, the service established an incredibly positive relationship with community members. My basketball coach was approached by community members before games, after games and even when he was out to eat with his wife who were thanking him for all the service the team had done. As a member of two college athletic teams who both did many hours of community service, I see no reason why every college team wouldn't be doing as much community service as possible.