Monday, April 6, 2009

What They're Saying at Spring Into Sports

In the news biz you listen for "good quotes." During the first days of Spring Into Sports, the drop-in-for-fun-and-competition festival going on during spring break in four violence-prone neighborhoods, I've been getting an earful.

"They feel like superstars." That was longtime activist Jenice Sanders at Englewood High School after Sunday's opening ceremony, with 200 in the stands, that featured the Imani African Dance and Drum Troupe (photo) and her own creation, Englewood Idols, the talented local singers who had made the cut down to 14 finalists.

"That was awesome." A child at Little Village Lawndale High School after time in the pool.

"They act at first like they're too cool to play volleyball, but once they get started their competitive juices kick in." That was Oji Eggleston at Crane Tech Prep, talking about the b-ball players who got serious at the volleyball net.

I counted about 155 kids and adults at Crane on Monday afternoon in the two gyms, hallways and food room. It was more than just a good natured and safe environment. There and at the other venues the youth were not just learning new athletic skills but social ones as well, from taking on something they hadn't done before to interacting with other youth and adults. Even the teenagers sitting in the stands, waiting and watching, that looked good to me too.

Top photo of Orr High School participants by Juan Francisco Hernandez. More photos here.

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