In our home we don’t really have television but that doesn’t stop us from watching one of our very favorite shows (via Netflix) called Friday Night Lights. Part of what I love about the show is watching the transformation of the (fictional) characters as they begin to develop a sense of purpose and belonging in their community. Well, enter this New York Times article, Among the Pads & Huddles, a Nudge toward College, which profiles an innovative club football program in Bronx called Northeast Elite. They are a college-level club football team made up primarily of players who are not (yet!) attending college. The college-age team members commit to five nights a week of practice and along the way receive coaching on a lot more than football. One player was quoted as saying:
“When we first got here, we had the mind-set that we’re from the ghetto, and that’s who we are,” said Julio Figueroa, a 19-year-old from the Bronx who works in construction. “We were cursing a lot and calling each other names. Coach Baxter sat us down and taught us how destructive it is to put each other down. He talked about how people judge us by the words we use and how we behave. It’s probably taken a month, but guys are starting to listen… We don’t curse that much anymore. We show up on time. We have discipline. We’re growing up.”
That is real life Friday Night Lights and I love it!