April 5, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Lady Volunteer soccer team hosted Cub Scout Troop 255, Den 1 from Knoxville on Wednesday afternoon at the Regal Soccer Complex for a post-practice clinic.
Being good stewards of the community is an important part of newly-hired head coach Brian Pensky's philosophy. Having the Cub Scout group out to practice was truly a great experience for all parties involved.
"This opportunity is such a win-win for both sides," said Pensky. "Our players benefit from being put in the leadership position of teaching and directing these cub scouts. And certainly the cub scouts look up to our players, and in many ways, see them as genuine role models."
Rising senior midfielder, Amy Harrison commented that having groups like the cub scouts out to practice is not only a treat for that group, but also one for the team.
"It is so great, we love having the kids out here," said Harrison. "We've never had the cub scouts (at practice before), so that was really great. We really like holding clinics after games and practices. Even though we are tired it is still really nice to see everyone come out and usually when (groups) come out here they get really excited and that is always really nice."
Harrison also remembers what it means to a young athlete to be around such strong influences.
"Back home with my club teams we would have national team players come out. We would also have clinics with boy's teams that were highly regarded in the community. (Interacting with those players) really just inspires everybody and we all loved it."
The scouts had many first-hand opportunities not many fans get to experience throughout the afternoon practice session.
"When the kids showed up at first they watched our practice where we played a four verses four tournament so they were able to learn a little bit about that (aspect of practice)," said Harrison. "We were also able to do some relays with them and then they learned our team cheer. The kids seemed to really enjoy that."
Coach Pensky also noted the opportunity the scouts had to learn from his players. "Being able to spend time with our players, and learn about the game from our players, is a special experience for these young people," Pensky said. "Everyone involved is thankful for this opportunity."
The experience also brought smiles out of participating parents who accompanied their children for the afternoon. Troop parent, Gregg Vandergriff, seemed to enjoy the day as much as the rest of the Pack. "It was wonderful that the Lady Volunteers would have us out to a facility like this," said Vandergriff. "I just think it was great. Being with the team today was just awesome," he said with a smile. "We truly appreciate the team having us out here today."
Without a doubt, the participating cub scouts learned valuable lessons. When asked what lessons seemed to stick out to him, Vandergriff quickly noted "teamwork."
"Teamwork, I believe, was the big thing today," said Vandergriff. "But teamwork was not the only lesson learned by these young men. "The kids also learned about persistence, and hard work by getting to see the girls work really hard throughout practice."
These are the lessons that carry over from the soccer pitch and into life. Vandergriff made that very clear when he stated, "The kids learned what it means to function as a unit and I believe they will carry that on into their (cub scout) pack activities and hopefully into their troop activities and further on into life."
When it all comes down to it, soccer is about having fun. Without the aspect of fun, soccer no longer becomes a game but simply an activity. By all accounts, the scouts seemed to have just that: fun.