Jacob likes to play, and he likes to win. In elementary school, he recalls, “We would spend a lot of time playing soccer, and I always wanted to win. I was really competitive.”
“I always thought the Junior Coaches were really cool, because they were always the people organizing sports and games at lunch,” says Jacob. When he became a Playworks Junior Coach, it was a big win.
But being a Junior Coach was difficult. Sometimes people wouldn’t listen to Jacob because they were the same age. They didn’t always pay attention when he tried to explain the rules.
“I would always get mad when someone didn’t follow the rules of the sport. I noticed that even if the main goal of games was having fun, I always wanted to win.” Jacob remembers.
To support other students, Jacob had to learn to let go. “Junior Coaching taught me that it’s not all about winning; it’s about having fun. I liked being able to organize the activities and help kids learn new sports and games that maybe they’d never played before.”
In many Playworks games there are no winners and losers, and if people get out, it is easy to get back in the game. This way, kids can keep playing all recess long. Jacob learned to appreciate playing for the sake of playing:
“My favorite game was a game called Infected, like tag, but where everyone who got tagged could start tagging people. We played in large groups that got together on the field as soon as recess started, so we could play and run for a really long time.”
Now, Jacob is in high school. He is still ambitious and he still likes to win, but his love of play for the sake of play makes him a stronger leader. As a ski coach, his Junior Coach experience pays off.
“I understand now how to work with the little kids,” he says. “Because I was a Junior Coach, I know how to be patient.”