As a college basketball player and exercise science major, I was assigned to work with the netball and soccer teams. While soccer is common and popular for boys in South Africa, netball is common for girls. Girls are not near as supported to participate in sports as boys, as sports are seen as a manlier hobby. So, when I got the opportunity to coach a girl’s sport, I made sure to make the most of it and supported them as best as I could. At first, I was nervous to coach any of the teams because I did not know if they would listen to me since I did not look or sound like them, but I am glad to say that I was wrong. My netball girls took to me extremely well and we always had a fun time. I taught them a proper warm-up and cool-down program, taught them some different drills and even got to play with them. Once practices were over, we went to the cafeteria where I got to serve my team a meal before they went home. For some of them, this might be their only guaranteed meal of the day. Although these meals would never look like something I would voluntarily eat, these kids never complained and always licked their plates clean. Because we wanted to help in any way possible, the other interns and I raised over $2,500 in less than a week to give to Project Playground for whatever they needed. The staff was very appreciative and that money will definitely be put to good use. Working at Project Playground taught me so much, but, overall, I will never forget how happy and friendly the kids were, and how helpful and grateful the staff was.
Since we were all student athletes, the program made sure that we had a place to go to work out. We also had a quiet work place to go to where we could work on our individual or group projects. Even though we were in a different country and could get distracted very easily, we still had work to get done in the classroom and within our athletics, so it was nice to have these places to go to ensure that we were productive.