Mentorship Evening Proves to be Mutually Beneficial
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Call it a mutually beneficial arrangement.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team hosted and mentored the Aqua Sox softball club Tuesday evening as part of the ongoing efforts of the UCCS Department of Athletics to engage in community outreach projects.
The Aqua Sox are comprised of girls aged from 11- to 14-years old, all from the Colorado Springs area. Coach Danielle Martinez said her girls were excited about the opportunity to interact with the Mountain Lions.
"It's a big deal. This is the closest they're going to get to see a national-level athlete," said Martinez. "We don't have very many resources in southern Colorado for softball. I looked to our highest level of athlete and that's the UCCS softball team."
The impact they had on the girls wasn't lost on the Mountain Lion players. The wide-eyed wonder and looks of adoration were unmistakable.
"It reemphasizes to our kids what it's all about," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "They are role models for these kids and I think this helped emphasize that as well."
The UCCS players took their position as role models to heart. During one-on-one conversations and also during a productive question-and-answer session, UCCS student-athletes repeatedly stressed the importance of good time management and setting priorities.
It was the kind of guidance you would expect from a group that boasts a cumulative team GPA of 3.25.
The Mountain Lions shared softball tips, and also talked about favorite movies and bands.
"I think all of them are thinking right now, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgosh, I remember when I was 14,'" said Peterson.
To start the evening, Peterson used one of his favorite ice-breakers. Names of celebrities were taped on each girl's back, UCCS and Aqua Sox alike. The girls then interacted with one another as if they were that celebrity. The object of the game is to figure out who you are.
Next, UCCS and Aqua Sox players paired up and talked to one another for five minutes. Afterwards, they got up in front of the group and talked about their partner. Since they were not allowed to write anything down, they were forced to pay close attention during the conversation.
Those two exercises created a fun, loose atmosphere in which conversation flowed freely. By the end of the event, which lasted well over an hour, the Aqua Sox girls felt special. So did the Mountain Lions, who saw first-hand how their status as role models could be put to positive use.
"This kind of thing is huge for us," said Peterson.
Their reward? When the meeting broke up, the UCCS players ran gassers in the gym. Those are a series of 12 sprints that must be run in 65 seconds or less.
Obviously, role model is not always a glamorous position.
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