More than just an Appearance
I have been blessed with so many passionate, strong and highly committed student-athletes this Spring at all of my San Jose sites. This past week I was able to cross paths with a unique and amazing opportunity to work with a team who has never experienced BAWSI. With my San Jose State Spartan Swimming and Diving team on Spring Break, Ann Detmer, one of coaches for the Cal Berkeley Track and Field team stepped up and said we will proudly serve.
What a gift.
The gift of this team’s service profoundly touched me on so many different levels. First and foremost, I was grateful to have volunteers step up to relieve our deeply committed Spartans. I was amazed by their willingness to make the trek from Berkeley to San Jose for our 75-minute session, especially on their day off from training, in the middle of their season, and with traveling to Tucson on the horizon just two days later. When their school van was impressively parallel parked and the navy and gold clad student-athletes poured out of the vans all smiles I knew this was going to be a good day. They arrived full of energy and excitement, with a real desire to learn about those they were to serve that afternoon, and with an authentic attitude to serve and really take in the experience. I firmly believe that BAWSI can be articulated through words and images, but that you will not truly have that “Aha” moment until you have experienced it. You have to live it to be touched by the power and spirit. I can say the track and field superstars from Cal left truly initiated as BAWSI women last Wednesday afternoon.
So often, teams and athletes give back to the community and make appearances. These Golden Bears were not just there for an appearance. They jumped right in to playing with the colorful hula hoops, jump ropes and even tether ball even before I blew the whistle for everyone to gather in the “Locker Room.” They were engaged from start to finish, asking girls about themselves, challenging them to take more steps, asking about their favorite sports and the fluidity of energy from station to station left me feeling like all cylinders were firing and BAWSI was truly a blaze in service and synergy.
Highlights from the rotations and the day included:
-Beautifully led discussions around the Word of the Day, “Commitment”. This station in every rotation was not ready to stop talking and I believe that the Cal athlete leading this discussion just sparked a dialogue that will continue well beyond the BAWSI playground.
-A huddle around one athlete’s shoes…they were all trying to make it dark enough to see her glow in the dark shoe laces before they started the obstacle course in front of them.
-Hearing the bark of seals, and the swaying of hula girls….cues for a game that this coach just made up on her own to make her station more fun and inclusive of the BAWSI girls ideas.
-Witnessing the coaches at our Scatterball station teach their team the “Go Bears” Cal secret cheer.
-A relay race passing a baton from girl to girl, just one drill that Coach Ann taught at her station to expose the girls to the sport she loves, Track and Field. She came ready with her stopwatch and the girls learned the basic mechanics of running.
The goodness was just overflowing.
In the end, after the ten-minute post-BAWSI Golden Bear-Hugging Session, the student-athletes just kept saying thank you. I was the one trying so hard to convey our deep appreciation for their presence, but they were the ones thanking me. This was such a teachable moment. When I say teachable moment, the person learning I feel was actually me. The work that we are doing at BAWSI is profound. We are providing meaningful experiences for these student-athletes to be their best and sparking their passion to we hope continue in lives of service to others. It was hard to deny that the direction BAWSI is going is not working after the wave of thank yous. To be able to help facilitate this experience for coaches and student-athletes has been a beautiful gift.
Thank you once again to Coach Ann Detmer and the Cal Bears Track and Field Team!