Every Sunday morning I wake up with a huge smile on my face, enthusiastic to go to volunteer “work”. Except I don’t consider it “work”, I simply consider it playing sports with my friends. I leave the house with my Backyard Sports t-shirt, a pair of sneakers, and a voracious eagerness to be amongst these inspiring children. There is a distinct memory in my head that perfectly depicts the magic that is sparked in Backyard Sports Cares: The head coach asked a child to demonstrate a proper lay-up to the rest of the children. This was a task that the children had been practicing for the past 20 minutes. An autistic child shot his hand straight in the air; confident he had mastered the art of a lay-up. When called on, he stood up, and showed us his stumbling, quirky interpretation of a lay-up. If we hadn’t been told he was intending to do a lay-up, most of us wouldn’t have known. However the entire audience (coaches and players, all) broke out into a huge round of applause. He felt so accomplished that he stood tall and proud in front of everyone, with a twinkle in his eyes, and proclaimed “Thank you! Thank you!”, took a bow, and blew us all kisses. In this moment he was a super-star, and he felt like he was on top of the world. Not only did the child feel accomplished, but that little moment planted a warmth within me that is intangible, but so real and lasting. I am also sure the positive vibe created in that hour of Backyard Sports carried on in the car ride home with the parents, and must have given them a feeling of pride similar to the feeling of driving home a regular kid who just won a playoff baseball game.
I volunteer at Backyard Sports Cares and get so much out of it.