South Carolina student-athletes used the day off from classes on Monday to take part in the Martin Luther King Day of Service at the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Football Practice Facility. 140 Gamecock student-athletes from across all sports spent time with more than 60 local elementary school children, teaching them some basic skills in a wide variety of sports.
“A big passion of mine is serving the community and being with kids,” said Taylor Fox, a graduate student on the women’s soccer team who is studying exercise science. “I was assigned as the ‘hype leader.’ We had nine different stations with two different stations for football, golf, men’s and women’s soccer, beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, softball, baseball, and track and field. We wanted to make sure they had the chance to experience every sport and meet our athletes.”
“It was a great opportunity to connect with the community and to give back,” said Colin Bryant, a redshirt sophomore of the football team. “We ran a group on defense and offense. We did a pass drop drill, a passing drill, and let them do a little dancing after they made a tackle or did a good job with the drill. We tried to get to know them a little bit, too.”
“It was a great opportunity, especially on Martin Luther King Day,” said senior golfer Rafe Reynolds, who is studying communications. “It’s always fun getting the chance to coach-up younger people. I know golf isn’t the most popular sport, but anytime you get a chance to introduce younger people to the game, it’s something you have to take advantage of. We taught them how to putt and some basic skills to try to help them learn golf. A lot of the kids had probably never played before.”
“I know I make an impact on them, but I don’t know if they know how they make an impact on me. That’s something I’m grateful for.”
The youngsters rotated from sport to sport, and in addition to getting to hang out with Gamecock student-athletes, they were treated to lunch from Marco’s Pizza.
“The kids were awesome,” Reynolds said. “They were really excited to be there, even when they were at the golf station. They were fired up.”
“It brings me so much joy,” Fox said. “I enjoy helping kids. It brings me joy to see them happy. I left feeling happy to have been a part of that. I know I make an impact on them, but I don’t know if they know how they make an impact on me. That’s something I’m grateful for.”
“I just wanted them to have fun with everything and realize that sometimes you have to take a step back and just enjoy themselves,” Bryant said. “I realized that I was in their position at one time, and getting a chance to meet older athletes can be a cool experience. So, we just wanted to be really welcoming to them. It was a good thing!”