Home to Urban Initiatives’ soccer practices full of 2nd to 4th graders in the morning, the Arthur A. Libby Elementary gym hosted a much bigger and louder contest last Thursday. Thanks to a grant from Good Sports that Urban Initiatives secured, Libby received brand new basketballs, enabling it to host eight different elementary schools’ basketball teams as the host site of the CPS Elementary School Sports Program’s Pershing area. This grant has not only allowed Libby to reduce the costs of its basketball program by becoming a host site, but it has also brought high quality sports equipment to every school that plays at Libby.
Urban Initiatives applied for the Good Sports grant as a way to increase the impact of its Coaches Corps program, and is distributing the equipment received from the grant among nine schools participating in the Coaches Corps, like Libby Elementary. Coaches Corps gives PE teachers and interscholastic sports coaches the resources to teach their players positive competitive attitudes and healthy eating just as in the Work To Play Program, but they extend the lessons to during class and into after-school sports. Coaches Corps is a way for Urban Initiatives to continue to provide its messaging of physical activity and healthy living as kids grow out of the Work To Play soccer team.
On Thursday, the 7th/8th grade boys teams from Urban Initiatives partner schools Libby Lions and Richard J. Daley Elementary Mustangs battled for the last spot to go to the playoffs. The home side from Libby took a slim lead into halftime, and with aggressive full-court pressure early in the second half, the Lions looked to be in the driver’s seat. The Daley Mustangs never gave up, and their scrappy play earned them a mid-fourth quarter tie, and eventually the lead. Two possessions with under a minute left weren’t enough to even the score for the Libby Lions, and Daley prevailed by the thinnest of margins, 29-27, to take the last playoff spot.
It is great to see young athletes at UI schools given the chance to play with top-notch equipment, especially in such close games that featured terrific sportsmanship on both sides. Organizations like Good Sports that promote such opportunities for Urban Initiatives can be sure that their donations are being put to good use by schools who want to get the most for their student-athletes out of their sports programs. Congratulations to both teams and Good Sports for being part of such a great game!