Courtesy of Oneonta Sports Information Department
ONEONTA, N.Y. - Oneonta student athletes, representing men's and women's soccer, women's and men's lacrosse, volleyball, men's and women's tennis, baseball and field hockey hosted 80 children ages 5-11 for the annual "Kids in Sports Day". Each year SUNY Oneonta attracts tens of youngsters as the college's athletic department continues to synergize with the surrounding communities. The event took place on Saturday, February 2nd in the Dewar Arena of the Alumni Field House from 9am to 12 noon.
SUNY Oneonta hosts the event annually and this being the 20th year it continues to be one of the highlight community service occasions for the athletics department. "Serving the community is a year-round athletic department commitment and I am proud that our coaches and student athletes give time enthusiastically to serve children during our annual "Kids in Sports Day". We get as much as we give and always look forward to the event," Athletics Director Tracey Ranieri.
Student athletes of SUNY Oneonta enjoy every opportunity to mentor young aspiring athletes. The typically chilly we had throughout the week seemed to help promote indoor athletic activity and enthusiasm as the children were exposed to so many sports that they can eventually participate in as teenagers and beyond. The children and their parents began arriving early and some of the kids were repeat participants from previous years. The returners were happy to see some student athletes that they met last year and their enthusiasm spread among the other participants and Oneonta athletes alike. The fantastic turnout and the smiles on so many children's faces as they participated in the activities was joyful. Red Dragon student athletes collectively were able to give back in the same way that someone gave of their time to help them when they were younger.
Brandi Lusk the Head Women's Lacrosse Coach said, "We began practice as a team early prior to the event this morning, as this is my first year as a head coach here at Oneonta, I was amazed to see how excited our own players were to again greet the children and show them a few pointers about Lacrosse. This experience with the Kids in Sports Day here at Oneonta was a great opportunity to expose the youngsters to women's lacrosse right here at the local level."
Lonnie Mitchel the head men's and women's tennis coach added his comments, "The sport of tennis is something you can share and play forever and you just never know what will resonate. The sport of tennis is game for a lifetime and just by holding a racquet and ball you do not know what seed we could plant to help a child play a game which helps you to be socially and athletically active. "
Senior captain of the women's tennis team Alyssa Brault added, "Tennis has given me so much in life and enhanced my student experience. If we can pay it forward and share the joy I and we have had, I think we are providing a great service."
The children who participated in this free event were treated to loads of fun as each team spent time teaching the skills of their specific sport. The day was divided into 30-minute sessions to give the children some exposure to various sports that are all played at a varsity level here at the college.
At the end of the day the children were also able to ask the college athletes general questions about being a student athlete.
The community can continue to visit the athletics department website (www.oneontaathletics.com) to find out about more events like this one.