As Week 2 of the spring Work to play season began, a countdown to friday, april 11th started as well. It was a special occasion, as kozminski, a new work to Play school would host its first ever friday Game Day. this was also the first ever urban Initiatives Friday game Day in hyde park on Chicago’s southside.
It was only the second week for a team of young athletes that are learning the sport of soccer. Nearly every player on the team was brand new to soccer before the start of our spring season.
On their game day the weather was beautiful and the players looked superb in their red and black Nike Urban Initiatives jerseys. As they exited the building and reached the field there was a large group of parents, the principal, coaches, school staff, and various people from the Hyde Park community all waiting to cheer them on! There was even a photographer there that developed pictures on the spot for parents and kids so they could remember this joyous occasion for years to come.
The best part of the experience was the development of camaraderie that was seen through gameplay. The students didn’t fully understand the mission of Urban Initiatives until they played with another school. A student asked the coach, “Did we win?” The coach responded with a question, “Did you have fun?” “The student replied cheerfully, “Yes!” The coach, smiling, stated, “If you had fun, then you won!”
The team that visited Kozminski was Attucks Elementary. Attucks is the third oldest school in the Urban Initiatives ‘Work to Play’ program, with plenty of experienced players and a very knowledgeable coach. The players did a great job by introducing the Kozminski kids to friendly competition and sportsmanship. Attucks’ team captains also proved invaluable by working with the younger players from both teams to help them learn how to play the game. Watching the kids smile, sweat, and learn was a wonderful combination that bodes well for the rest of our spring season and the mission of Urban Initiatives.