It’s Game Day. Vashon Jordan, head coach at Howe Elementary, expects the soccer team to have a great attitude before they play Lloyd Elementary. Shin guards, black shorts, and a crisp, white shirts embroidered with the Urban Initiatives logo completes their uniform. The team sprints out onto the field with a swagger unlike anyone has ever seen. They were born champions!
Two weeks ago, none of this existed. Coaches Anthony, Jordan, and Brown taught the kids the fundamentals of soccer: passing, dribbling and trapping the ball. The Roll-Back and Roll-Over techniques also enhanced their repertoire on the field. During practice, the coaches noticed that some of the kids possessed strong intangibles and were natural leaders on the field. Marvin and Rachel, both 4th graders, reminded them of a mini Freddy Adu and Mia Hamm. It seemed as if the game came to them naturally. Therefore, the coaches instructed them to lead during warm-ups and health and character discussions.
"I can tell that the children really enjoy playing soccer. It’s not everyday that you see an all-black soccer team on the west side of Chicago," exclaimed Coach Calhoun. Now, fast forward back to our first game. The anticipation has grown and it’s time for Howe to show Lloyd what they’re capable of. Each team aggressively chased after the ball; passing, trapping, and scoring goals.
The youth also picked up their opponents after each and every fall. Teamwork, the first theme that the coaches taught them to live by, had made its way onto the field. Instead of drinking pop, the youth drank water bottles and gatorade during breaks.
The second theme that the Howe team talked about, healthy eating, taught them the importance of consuming four servings of water daily, replenishing the water that they lost during physical activity. The game ended with hive-fives and hugs from both sides. Before the team left, Coach Jordan snapped a photo of this championship-caliber team and told them, "If we had fun, then we won!". Parents beamed with pride and expressed vast interest in attending the next game. If the Howe team focuses and stays committed at the task at hand, then their hard work will pay off. That’s what Championship Attitude is all about!