The Work to Play soccer team at Daley Academy is intense! Some students are not able to keep up with the rigorous workouts Coach J has all the students go through in the beginning of practice. Neida Rodriguez is a dedicated soccer player at Daley Academy. Even though this is her first year in the soccer team, she has been able to apply all that she has learned about physical activity and nutrition in her life!
During the first practice, she was very shy and did not really want to talk to anyone. She would stand behind all the students when the team was going through their workout in the beginning of practice. While many of the students of the team were returning from the previous year and were able to keep up with the workout, Neida struggled the whole time. She was very red in the face and had difficulty breathing. She was trying to stay with the rest of the team while they were running laps but stopped halfway. She continued the rest of the practice feeling discouraged and did not want to come back to the next practice.
During a break, Neida told the coaches that she felt very self-conscious about being part of the team because she thought she was overweight and was not very athletic. She also complained about not being able to breath when the team ran around the field. When asked why she thought she was overweight, she quickly stated, “My mom thinks I am too fat to be part of the soccer team.” Even though her family told her that many times, she wanted to be healthier and thought the soccer team was the best way to do it! With some coaching on how to breathe when she was running around the field, she was able to complete the laps even though it was at a slower pace than the other students. She kept going and did not give up. After two weeks, she announced she had asthma, but that through exercising at practice, she had her asthma under control. As the season progressed, she was able to complete the practice at the same pace as the rest of the students!
During team discussions at the end of practice, Neida learned about eating properly and having balanced meals. Knowing that she was able to improve athletically through practice and hard work, she wanted to continue on a path to a healthy lifestyle through better eating habits at home and at school. By learning 5-4-3-2-1 Go! as her go-to guide, she was able to help her mother make healthier choices while shopping for groceries and while cooking meals. “I told my mom, ‘instead of manteca (lard), we should use olive oil or use vegetable oil,’ which she did switch out,” Neida said. She also makes sure that there are always vegetables in their meals, and instead of Mexican sweet bread, her family has switched to eating fruit. Her mother and grandmother are so happy with the changes that they have seen in Neida, who has lost weight and is more energetic. They feel like Neida is so full of life and has been a great help with getting the WHOLE family eating more balanced meals and doing physical activities as a family.