Nothing signifies the beginning of the school year – particularly in the Deep South and especially in Georgia – like football season! The sounds (bands and cheerleaders!), the smells (grilled hot dogs, popcorn at Grady and Lakewood Stadium, dirty gym socks – yes, please!), the colors (students, parents and fans all dressed in their school gear!) and, of course, the GAMES! I love it!!!
Once again, whenever my schedule permits, you will see me on Friday nights and Saturday evenings at Grady and Lakewood (sometimes both in one night!) cheering on our teams. And just like last year, I’m getting a full-fledged education on what it takes to compete on the football field by practicing with our teams!
After three years of practice and having so much fun, I’m back at it and STILL terrible! I started the season with Washington (Thanks, Coach Avery!) and South Atlanta (Thanks, Coach Stephens!), then I worked out with Maynard Jackson (Thank, Coach Williams!), Douglass (Thanks, Coach Cofield!), and Therrell (Thanks, Coach Sullivan!), and most recently I got it in with Mays (Thanks, Coach Battle) and B.E.S.T. Academy (Thanks, Coach Moore). I hope to work out with all 11 of our teams by season’s end.
It’s sooo hard! It’s hot, and all the running and drills and exercises are a killer (especially those six-inch leg lifts and tire-flipping drills!). And I even had my first football injury – a miserable muscle tear in my left calf (Waaaaaa!). But I love being out there with our students and coaches, and I can’t thank them enough for welcoming me and letting me participate like a true member of the team. Case in point: I had to do 25 pushups for fumbling the ball at South Atlanta … just like a Hornet!
Also, I plan to work out with some of the other fall sports. I’ve already worked out with our district-wide APS Knights water polo team (Thanks, Coach Stu!), just as I did last year when I joined the cheerleaders at Carver (Ladies, those five-minute wall sits are brutal! Geezums!) and the softball team at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I wish I could take some credit for their record-setting season, coming in second in their region and advancing to the state playoffs – but it was all them!
And, there’s more to come in the fall – cross country and volleyball – to extend my #UnitedWePlayTour and the APS United We Play initiative (see how that first developed here) to the winter and spring sports, too! It’s a way for me to stay connected to our students and staff, our coaches, athletic directors and principals, and hear their concerns. On top of that, it’s a great way for me to stay in shape!
It also gives me an opportunity to reinforce the importance of co-curricular activities in Atlanta Public Schools. (Please note that I refer to them as “co-curricular” and not “extra-curricular,” because these activities do more than just enhance the educational experience in our schools.) They are an essential part of school, which goes for our many clubs and organizations as well.
So let me hear from you! If you want me to suit up, sit up or jump up with your squad, hit me up on Twitter, or call or email Seth Coleman in our Office of Communications and Public Engagement at 404-802-2891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, the fall sports teams set the tone for what turned out to be an awesome year for APS, on the field and in the classroom (check out the gains we made on the Georgia Milestones!).
Let’s #HuddleUpAndHaveABall !