Community Service at POLY
On Sunday, September 18 a few guys from the soccer team and I took a trip to POLY middle school to do some community service work. For an hour we were giving the opportunity to work with kids that had disability problems. When I first arrived at the site, I stupidly felt out of place. This feeling went away when I introduced myself to the lady that was running the program. While conversing with her, she said, “you are going to be working with maybe one or two athletes.” I assumed that she was referring to the disable kids when she said, “athletes.” I couldn’t comprehend why she was calling them that; however, after working with them for an hour, I realized that they were more than athletes.
As I was walking around observing the kids, Ann, the program director approached me and said, “We need someone to help out with Nate today. He’s usually happy and just wants to kick the ball as far as possible, but he’s not cooperating today.” I excitedly said, “Yes!”
At first, it was hard to get his attention. He was even crying at one point because I wouldn’t let him past the safety boundaries. I took the soccer ball and started juggling it. Right then and there the kid changed my whole weekend: he began laughing historically. After that, I started to play keep away from him: he found so much joy in every and anything I did with the ball.
After it was all over, I got back in my care and started to think about the time I just had. Soccer has not been going well for me ever since I came to college. It has become a job that I hate. But when Nate started laughing and enjoying me playing with the ball, that moment helped me realized why I fell in love with the game. I saw a lot of myself in Nate: a young 12-year-old boy just enjoying having a ball at his feet. For that hour I was able to forget about the competing, injuries, and everything that comes with college soccer. It was just me and Nate: the boy who showed me that being an athlete is about having fun and loving what you do.