Greenwich Academy Press

The Student News Site of Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

Backyard Sports Makes Everyone a Winner


– Photos by Charlotte Warne


On Sunday mornings volunteers from different high schools in New York and Connecticut wake up at nine-thirty and throw on their Backyard Sports Cares jerseys. I am lucky enough to be one of these volunteers, and I gladly give up a couple hours of sleep in order to work with special needs kids for two hours.

Backyard Sports Cares is a new and innovative program, dedicated to providing high quality sports programing to young athletes with limited access to community programs and special needs children in Westchester and lower Connecticut. Thanks to one-on-one coaching techniques, the children are able to progress in ways that they wouldn’t be able to in a regular sports league.

Why should a program like this come to Greenwich Academy? I think we, as GA girls, have so much to give to others. Every Sunday I wake up excited to volunteer and impact the lives of special needs children, even if it is in a small way. The children wait to be assigned to their coach, and I can always see the eager enthusiasm in their eyes as they stare at the various sports equipment that is bundled together in the gym corner. They wait for Backyard Sports Cares all weekend.

That is what makes the program so special– the kids love it so much. They cling to their parents in anticipation, bouncing up and down and smiling widely. Those smiles are the real ones: smiles so wide, with eyes that are bright and focused. These kids, aside from Backyard Sports, hear plenty of “no’s,” especially when it comes to sports teams. They will never be told that they play basketball as well as Michael Jordan or football as well as Peyton Manning. At Backyard Sports Cares, the kids learn how to dribble a ball and are applauded for making their first basket.

The first time I went to Backyard Sports Cares, I was nervous. I wanted to be a positive role model for the kids.  Somehow, I wanted to make their lives a little better. That first day, I was paired with a boy who was enthusiastic and energetic. When I asked him to do jumping jacks with me, he broke into a sprint. When I told him to dribble the basketball in a circular motion, he ran straight towards the hoop and missed his shot. The boy glanced over at me, looking dejected, after he had “failed”.

But I didn’t think of it that way. I told the boy that he needed to warm up first, that he could only make his shots once he had gotten used to dribbling the ball. The special needs kids who attend Backyard Sports have constantly been told that they are not good enough. The volunteer’s job is to make them understand that they are.

It’s a pretty nice job to have, if you ask me.

More to Discover
Activate Search
Backyard Sports Makes Everyone a Winner