Nothing but Nets!
Over 60 children from P.S. 130 in Brooklyn were treated to a day of learning how to stay fit and in shape while meeting their sports idols at the Barclays Center practice court. Brooklyn Nets players Mason Plumlee, Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev were on hand to greet the children, run drills and sign autographs.
The event was sponsored by Wellness in the Schools (WITS) Coach for Kids, a program that inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and a way of life for kids in public schools.
“Our mission is to decrease playground bullying, get every child active and teach good play,” said WITS coach Maurice Christovale, who explained how excited the kids were. “It means everything to them. Sports and recreation is embedded in all societies, but it’s more prevalent when you’re young. For them to experience this kind of excitement and pure bliss, it’s amazing. I would give up anything to get this opportunity when I was in their position, but those resources weren’t available to us.”
Jack, who has stepped up his game on the court this season for the injured Deron Williams, also expressed the significance of spending time with students. “We’re definitely a part of the community,” he said. “We come here and love to see the fans support us game in and game out, so this is our way of giving back, especially to these kids that are very energetic and rambunctious, and show them a little bit about fitness and living a long and healthy lifestyle.”
After an hour of shooting drills, stretching and running, the kids sat at center court for a Q&A sessions with the players, in which the kids had fun picking the brains of players. Questions ranged from how much money they made to how the hometown team fared against the rival New York Knicks.
“We played them twice and beat them both times,” Plumlee responded with a smile.
Before the players signed t-shirts given to the kids by the Nets, Jack discussed the importance of school. “It took a lot of hard work for us to get to this point, not only on the basketball court but what we did as students growing up in the classrooms and participating in all kinds of activities,” he told the youngsters.
Executive Director of WITS Nancy Easton explained how the opportunity for the children came to fruition.
“We’ve become a charity partner of the Nets and they’ve been great to us. We’re kicked off a contest in schools to see which schools are most active. To kick off that partnership and we chose a school in Brooklyn,” she said. “For me and for our program, it’s so exciting. Nothing makes me happier than to see kids with rosy cheeks and big smiles on their faces. This is a special day for them. They have their Nets shirts on. They really got into it.”