A group of local high school seniors stepped up to coach group of first graders when they were unable to find a coach.
Ten first-grade students from New Hope Borough and Solebury Township were facing a major hurdle this year when they wanted to participate in the Penn Athletics flag football league. While they had the interest and registrations to form a local team, they were unable to find a coach to guide them through the season.
The parents of the aspiring young athletes attempted to arrange a schedule that would involve multiple coaches covering different weeks, but this proved to be impractical due to conflicting family work schedules and travel commitments.
Due to the lack of a coach, the team missed their initial two practices, leaving their participation in jeopardy.
In search of a solution, they reached out to their local high school for assistance.
Four seniors from New Hope-Solebury High School stepped up to volunteer their time as coaches for the team. Samuel Hoffman, Nate Wiseman, Jacob Stein, and Matthew Rickert embraced the opportunity to support these young athletes, according to the school district.
“We received an email from the school mentioning that the kids did not have a coach. It seemed like a fun way to help these kids and give them the opportunity, and it definitely was,” said Wiseman, who is an accomplished golfer and baseball player for New Hope-Solebury.
“Some of the fond memories of my childhood came from playing flag football with friends, and I still remember my first and only touchdown,” fellow coach Rickert said. “I would love for another kid that age to get that key sports memory.”
The efforts of these high school seniors have not gone unnoticed. Parents of the team members have commended their dedication and personalized approach to coaching.
Jaclyn Oates, a parent of one of the first graders, praised the high school-aged coaches.
“They prepare the kids for practices and games, and they are such enthusiastic supporters of the boys. They have really taken the time to learn the unique qualities of each player and tailor practice to work on both individual skills and team-building. They actively seek feedback from parents and are so respectful and proactive in communicating with us,” said Oates.
The school district noted the coaches have gone beyond their coaching duties to serve as positive role models for the young players. On Mother’s Day, they surprised each boy with a small vase of flowers to give to their moms after the game.
“Ask any mom on the team—we would love our first graders to turn out like Sam, Nate, Matthew, and Jacob when they get to high school,” said Oates.
“Our coaches are the coolest teenagers. They taught me how to blitz and do the X,” said first grader Landon Oates.
Teammate Shaylan Patel said: “It was really, really, really fun, and the coaches were super nice!”
The coaches give their players a focus on playing the game, but their main focus in ensuring that the kids have fun.
“At this age, it’s important to just enjoy the experience and want to continue playing sports,” said Wiseman.