By Dom Fraboni
Although Concordia College student athletes already have a lot of commitments, they still make sure to make time for community involvement. During the 2014-2015 academic school year, the members of the Cobber Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) dedicated themselves to becoming more and more involved with the Fargo Area Special Olympics. Of the many events that SAAC volunteered at throughout the year, there are a few that stand out.
This past January, the Cobber Basketball team was charged with the task of running a coaching clinic for the Special Olympics basketball coaches. Six Concordia Basketball players headed the clinic, along with their assistant coach Grant Hemmingsen. The clinic ran for roughly two hour. During this time, about twenty-five Special Olympic coaches watched and took notes as the Cobber basket team ran through numerous different drills, games, and skill building exercises. Cobber Basketball Assistant Coach Grant Hemmingsen said “this clinic was a great opportunity for both their coaches and our players. Many of our guys want to go into coaching, and a clinic like this is a great step.”
The coaching clinic was such a great success! SAAC has continued working with the Special Olympic basketball teams. Members of SAAC did this by volunteering at the teams’ Sunday practices to help with their drills and also have a little fun. SAAC member and Concordia Football player, Hank VanLiew, says, “working so closely with Special Olympics has been one of the most powerful experiences in [his] life.” After attending a few weeks of practices, SAAC invited two of the Special Olympic teams to play at halftime of a Concordia Basketball game.
On April 22nd, SAAC worked with the Special Olympic basketball program culminated at Concordia’s Golden Cobbs Award Show. Using some of the money raised from an InSports apparel fundraiser, SAAC bought medals to present to the Special Olympic athletes at the award show. Unfortunately, the athletes had a commitment already, but they were still honored at the Golden Cobbs for their intense passion and relentless effort that they put into their sport.
Although SAAC’s work with the Special Olympic basketball program is only a fraction of all they do with the organization, their continued work throughout the year show how huge of an impact athletics can have on an entire group of people. Along with their work in basketball, SAAC volunteered at Special Olympic bowling, swimming, volleyball, track and field, and the Special Olympic pancake breakfast. SAAC is anxious to continue to strengthen this partnership in the future years.
By Max Smith,
On April 25th, the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) Dragon Soccer team hosted a free soccer clinic to kids ages 4-14 in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Despite the cold weather, 55 young soccer players showed up for the clinic instructed by the players and coaching staff. According to MSUM Soccer Assistant Coach, Uchenna Ogbonnaya, “Our goals for the clinic were not only to get kids and the community involved with MSUM, but to get the kids and community involved with Dragon Soccer.”
The clinic consisted of an hour of skill work followed by small games. Even though participants varied in skill level and age, the MSUM Soccer team was able to make the clinic fun and beneficial for everyone.
MSUM Soccer player, Lindsey Micheletti shared the best part of the clinic was, “being able to work with the players who came. It was fun doing the drills with the kids and seeing how they reacted to actually playing with a college player. Being interactive along with giving tips and encouragement on the go was a great experience!”
The InSports Foundation was a proud sponsor of this event and enabled the MSUM Soccer program to provide a shirt for every kid who attended. Participants also received scholarship information for the upcoming MSUM Youth Camp on June 15-18th where kids from preschool through 8th grade can apply for on the InSports website.
InSports would like to thank the entire MSUM Soccer team for playing-it-forward and their involvement and dedication to the youth in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
“I think it’s important for kids to play sports because sports are how kids learn so many key lessons in life. How to win graciously, how to lose, how to be creative, how to be independent, how to be dependable, and much more,” said Ogbonnaya.
If you are interested in signing for the June 15-18th Dragon Soccer Youth Camp click HERE
If you are interested in apply for a scholarship click HERE
By Ben Gislason,
Even though the Concordia Men’s Hockey team could not pull out a victory against the Hamline Pipers on January 31st 2015, it did not stop eleven kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation from having a night they would never forget.
The Boys & Girls Club of the White Earth Reservation located in Northwestern Minnesota currently serves over 1,100 youth between seven communities within the reservation. The mission of the club is to “inspire and enable all youth, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
A part of the InSports Foundation’s “Play-it-Forward” initiative, young hockey fans from the Boys & Girls Club got to take in a MIAC regular season hockey game on January 30th, complete with a meet and greet with the Cobber team after the game.
After a tough loss, the Cobbers were hanging their heads in the locker room post-game. However, it didn’t take long for the players to cheer up after seeing the smiling faces of their eager fans from the White Earth Reservation.
The Cobbers were greeted by high fives and all kinds of questions from the kids outside the locker room.
One of the kids took a particular liking to the Cobber goaltender’s Jordyn Kaufer and Alex Reichle. The boy was an aspiring goaltender himself, and had plenty of questions about the position. While Reichle was sharing his goaltending style, Kaufer snuck away into the locker room to bring out a broken goalie stick.
As Kaufer signed and handed over the broken shaft, the boy’s face was priceless.
“When I brought out the broken stick, the young kid’s eyes lit up. He was a little shy, but I could tell that he was more than excited,” Kaufer said. “That’s one of the best feelings as a player, being able to make a kid’s day with things that we might take for granted, like free sticks.”
After signing some more autographs for the kids, the group got together for a picture with the team, which sealed-off a great evening for the White Earth reservation kids and the Cobbers as well.
InSports Founder, Max Smith thought the event was special for both the kids and for the men’s hockey team.
“It was great to see the excitement and smiles on the kids’ faces during what for many of them was their first hockey game,” Smith Said. “They were so happy getting autographs from the Cobbers, it was like we were an NHL team. It just shows how much kids look up to older players, no matter what level it is at.”
Stayed tuned for more ways athletes at Concordia are Playing-It-Forward in the Fargo-Moorhead Community.
This past August, the Concordia Women's Soccer team traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks. On the trip, the girls got to play against regional teams, site see, and additionally, give back to the local children.
Before the trip, the team conducted an apparel fundraiser through InSports Apparel. Using a portion of the money they raised from the fundraiser the team purchased pennies, cones, jerseys, and soccer balls, which they later donated to a low-income soccer organization in Costa Rica.
During their second day in Costa Rica, the Cobbers hosted a clinic for the players. There were over 190 boys and girls ages 4-13. Prior to their arrival, the program only had 4 soccer balls on hand, which was extremely insufficient for practicing and playing.
From the Concordia girls' perspective, "the language barrier was hard at first but once the kids got dribbling and laughing it was all smiles till the final whistle blew."
The children and parents of the organization were overjoyed to see brand new equipment at the completion of the clinic.
InSports would like to thank the Concordia Women's Soccer team for the impact they made on the children in this community. Soccer is a huge part of the Costa Rican culture, and all kids should have the chance to play!
To learn more about the teams trip visit their blog HERE