The role of a coach is to teach the players the skills of the sport. A good coach will instill values such as good sportsmanship and working as a team. A truly great coach will motivate the individuals to be better people on and off the court. That is exactly what Adversity Wisconsin Volleyball Club Coach Kristi Kane does with her team.
Instead of kicking off the season with a pizza party or trip to a water park, she plans a day of service for the girls to participate in. Last year, Coach Kane's team worked for the Salvation Army. This year, all the girls put on their Live United T-shirts, customized to sport their team name, and headed over to Brookfield Rehab, a residential facility that offers rehabilitation and long term care for the elderly, to decorate Christmas cookies.
It was plain to see that the girls and the residents were all having a fantastic time. Tables stocked with cookies, frosting and sprinkles were spread out in the hall, Christmas music played in the background, and the girls traveled among all the residents socializing and decorating. There was no shortage of smiles.
But the girls wanted to kick it up a notch. In honor of one of the resident's dog, Timber, the girls sang the beginning of a Ke$ha song by the same name. The caroling continued as they invited the residents to join them in singing "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and several other holiday tunes.
When asked how they felt about doing a project such as this, the girls all responded positively. For them, it was a team-building day, but also a character-building experience. One player said, "They are all so excited, so it's fun for us. I hope our team does more things like this."
"It is great to talk to people who may not get a lot of visitors. And it also brings us closer together as a team," another added.
The residents of Brookfield Rehab were extremely thankful for the gift of companionship that they were given this holiday season. One resident spoke to the idea that, not only did they get to interact with the girls; they also got to interact with the other residents in a way that they do not normally get to. "It is nice for us to come down to socialize with each other, and it is wonderful that there are people like Coach Kristi's team to make it happen," they said.
After the day was done, Sara Hubertz, the coordinator at Brookfield Rehab, could not help but continue to express her thanks. "This group was fantastic! Coach Kristi is indeed an inspiring soul, and her team of girls did an excellent job of spreading 'comfort and joy!' You should have seen the happy, frosting covered smiles of our residents!" Hubertz said.
Hubertz went on to express her gratitude to the United Way who set up this connection and hundreds of other connections just like this with more than 70 agencies in Waukesha County. And in the humble manner of a truly amazing coach, Coach Kristi simply says, "We build players on and off the court."