By Marcos Aranda
We had our first practice of this block on April 29th.
When we got into the practice room, you could feel the excitement in the room. The coaches introduced ourselves, and Coach Zack went over our rules and expectations. The kids handled their stretches and warm ups well. The returning wrestlers were happy to get back to work, but the new kids were tentative when we started teaching them stances and motion.
After we covered stance, we let the kids play the toe touch game(the kids use their wrestling stance and motion to touch the other wrestlers toe first). They enjoyed the competition. At the end of practice, we played king of the mat. Wrestlers go head-to-head, one at a time, in front of the whole room in the toe touch game starting from the lightest weight to the heaviest weight, mimicking competitions.
The older wrestlers were excited and ready to compete; however, the new wrestlers were deer-in-the-headlights. Four young, African American girls in particular had to be begged to compete with the other students. Since it was their first day, they lost pretty quickly. Surprisingly, they started jumping back in line to play again.
They had been afraid of competition, especially one where they were the only person accountable if they lost, but they had brushed off the loss, got ready to try again, and were more comfortable in their abilities. It was motivating and inspiring to see this change in attitude. I had had another rewarding day as volunteer with Beat the Streets Providence.