It’s been a little over 3 years since the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society Program recognized 2-4-1 Sports as one of 8 model programs in the United States in the original Project Play report. I am forever grateful for the tremendous opportunities this recognition has afforded 2-4-1, not the least of which is - a greater capacity to positively influence youth sports in this country.
Personally, it's given me the chance to know so many wonderful, mission driven folks who truly want to “get stuff done”. Was thrilled earlier this year to join the international Quality Coaching Collective which are just that - a collection of quality "doers".
I continue to seek out doers! Having just gotten back from DC and the 3rd Project Play Summit, I am reminded of the wise anecdote asking “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer of course is “One bite at a time’.
The USA is a giant elephant and there were lots of folks there strategizing about the best plan for approaching the elephant. But, it was the stories of grassroots programs and passionate individuals who wake up everyday and take their bite that inspire me most. I was introduced by fellow Quality Coaching Collective member Sarah Cahill to Jon Feinman, the CEO of Inner City Weightlifting out of Boston. Read their mission and see their impact and try not to be inspired (scroll down to see their story told in our Feel Good Footer). Through Project Play, I also have gotten to know folks like Janet Carter whose program in the Bay area, Coaching Corps trains and supports coaches - many of whom are college students to “teach kids valuable life lessons and inspire them to reach their full potential.” And, one of my childhood heros, Edwin Moses, Chairman of Laureus Sport for Good who “uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage. proving that sport can change the world”.
With Edwin Moses at the original
Coach Jeff Billing inspiring nearly 200 high school runners everyday!
But these bites are happening everywhere in communities around the country. Heck - I just experienced one in my own back yard. Read this incredible story about my friend and long-time 2-4-1 Coach, Jeff Billing written by his legendary Uncle, Amby Burfoot (who just so happens to be a Boston Marathon winner and Editor of Runner’s World). Jeff’s got nearly 15% of a large public high school out for Cross Country. Just imagine how much different our world would be if 15% of all 14 to 18 year olds went out for a run with their friends everyday.
Sometimes when you’re eating an elephant, it’s hard to know if you’re making any progress, but I am constantly inspired by the “little bites”. My charge now is to work with the "doers" I’ve gotten to collaborate with at Project Play, the Quality Coaching Collective and those committed to the National Association of Physical Literacy Advisory Board. We will “get this elephant eaten” if we take the lessons learned from the great folks doing the grassroots activation and replicate it on scale so that children from throughout the country have the benefit of movement and the true joys of play.