Sunday, May 21, 2017
by Vincent Guider
The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC), is in the process of forming a youth sports association to foster good coordination of youth recreation programming in the community. Members of Old St. Pat’s and the University of Notre Dame have played key roles in that effort. Thus, the following letter by Coach Charles Rice, Executive Director of the North Lawndale Eagles Youth Football Program, is one of many examples of how Old St. Pat’s and the North Lawndale community are working together in a spirit of kinship.
First off, on behalf of the coaching staff, student-athletes and volunteers of The North Lawndale Eagles Youth Tackle Football Program, we give great thanks to Old St. Pat Church, Play Like a Champion Today and The University of Notre Dame for making the visit possible. From the moment the team arrived on campus, we were greeted with warm welcomes and smiles. You all made campus feel like home for all of us. This visit has had a huge impact on our program thus far. Many of our student athletes had never been to a college campus and probably would have never thought about it if you all had not afforded them this opportunity. Allowing the team to tour campus and meet with collegiate student athletes has provided hopes and dreams for our athletes to one day play at a collegiate level. This trip did not only inspire the team in a football sense but also inspired the team to do well academically. The words of Corey Robinson, Notre Dame Student Body President and Varsity Football Player, resonated with our student athletes. “You’ll have to hang up the cleats one day” he said. Letting the student-athletes know that though it is possible for them to play football after college, it is highly unlikely. This forced them to consider other plans.
The team had an opportunity that they had only dreamed of. They got to play on the practice field where some of their role models had once practiced and currently practice. They also got to experience the Blue and Gold game live and in person. That experience was invaluable. They got to see the surface of what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level.
The Blue and Gold participants demonstrated teamwork, hard work, unity and dedication and the children left Notre Dame with a sense of what they needed to do to make it to college and be a part of the football team. Jim, Vince and Amber made us feel as if we were family. The team was fed well and were treated as if they were stars on campus. The North Lawndale Eagles Football Program has been around for over 25 years and the team has never been given an opportunity of this magnitude. We are certain that the visit had a very positive impact on our student-athletes as well as the coaching staff. The team will remember the visit to the University of Notre Dame forever and for that we are forever thankful.
The North Lawndale Eagles
Learn more about the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative at www.KinshipMovement.org