Our current group of co-ops and interns is very talkative. At our weekly meeting, check-ins and updates on our lives always lead to great conversations. Besides that, we create agendas and discuss ways to market our student group ‘Huskies for Sport in Society’. I most enjoy conversations on social justice and the experiences each of us has in group dynamics. At the recent JCLC, we saw how a small conversation can make people feel included. Talking to a child sitting alone and wanting to be part of a fun game, turned out to be a small action that made him or her feel recognized.

Lots of talking happened at the Supreme Court this week. It reviewed Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, two laws on marriage equality. Both cases have been a conversation starter, in America as well as my home country, the Netherlands. It was one of the main items at the ‘Acht uur-journaal,’ the most-watched Dutch news show.

It feels as if more people are starting to care about equality. Fighting for gay rights seemed to be an issue for the LGBT community only. Same-sex couples went out on the streets and propagated for what seemed like ‘their’ right. Lately, we’ve been hearing more people speaking out about the issue. For example, we’ve been hearing from children who’ve been raised by two mothers or two fathers,. They’ve become a valuable source of information for the media. Zack Wahls’ experience of living in an apparently ‘abnormal’ household turned out to be not as different as one might have thought. The 19-year old student said in 2011 that, “the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of [his] character…” It only took a small conversation to learn about this.

Just a few days before the Supreme Court’s review, former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita also reminded us of what a simple conversation can do. He hopes his daughters grow up knowing “love” means the same for homosexual and heterosexual couples. Fujita appeals to another large group in the society: athletes and sports-fans. He is able to raise awareness amongst them by openly supporting gay marriage. Similar to Scott Fujita, I hope that at some point we no longer have to speak up for out-players, athletes, or homosexuals in society, but can speak with them about issues that matter to us all. All it takes is a conversation.

Let’s continue this conversation and work towards an equal and inclusive society. A great start would be to take Prop 8 out of the state of California, and consider it a law that has an effect on all of us, just like Zach Wahls and Scott Fujita did. Let’s give ourselves authority by not just having the Supreme Court talk about these issues, but also discuss gay rights by the coffee machine, at the dinner table, or in our ‘co-op cave’ at the Sport in Society office. I’m sure we’ll have very interesting discussions.

March Madness!

As the end of March approaches, so does the midpoint of our time here at Sport in Society. These first three months have been exciting and eventful as well as a bit chaotic at times. With all the schedule changes as a result of the harsh winter weather and school breaks, I expected March to be a bit calmer…but I guess they say March comes in like a lion for a reason.

We’ve missed a few days on the bus in March due to the weather and this week was no exception. Boston Public Schools surely had the luck of the Irish on their side with a four-day St. Patrick’s Day/ Evacuation Day weekend. For those out-of-town readers that’s when the British troops were evacuated following the Siege of Boston. We really like to celebrate Revolutionary war victories here – don’t forget Patriot’s Day is just a few weeks away!

Needless to say the atmosphere on the bus was a bit different this week – not as crazy as Harvard beating New Mexico or Mississippi beating Wisconsin for some unexpected first round upsets (but pretty close). On Wednesday the second group we worked with had a 100-minute session on the bus during their last period. Considering the circumstances we decided it might be fun to take a study break. A few of the tutors and students quickly became engrossed in a game of Green Glass Doors. Don’t worry! Engrossed is one of the SAT words on Study Island – we made sure we got in some solid test prep before the fun and games! The observation skills needed to succeed at the game also relate back to the Critical Reading section of the SAT.

Friday’s schedule was somewhat tweaked as well, with only four students coming on to the bus at the first school. While this week was somewhat atypical, it did give us an opportunity to get to know the students better, and see all that we have in common, which is never a bad thing.

And to end the month, next week will be another shortened one. It’s only fitting that the bus is cancelled for the last March session (for Good Friday). It is March Madness after all! At the same time I guess you could look at it as March going out like a lamb with a relaxing long weekend to lead us into April. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which it is…

What’s Your Good?

The question is deceptively simple. What’s your good?

To be honest, I love the question but find it almost uncomfortably self-reflective. I like to believe that we all have that individual ‘good’ to spread, but we also have two jobs, or newborn babies, or graduate schools to apply to, or taxes to file. ‘I would love to nurture my individual good’ you think ‘just after I cure cancer, achieve world people, and make the fantasy hockey playoffs’.  Personally, I’m already behind on achieving that last goal, so I don’t have the time to preach about committing your limited free time to rescuing the endangered sea monkeys or adopting neglected office plants.

But your good is different. I don’t know what it is. Maybe you’re the person who willing digs into the company trash to pull out all the plastic cups for recycling. Or you’re the one who’s an active bystander when your roommate starts making racist jokes out at a bar. You might spend an hour every Saturday shooting hoops with a kid from the homeless shelter.

I think there should be a personal pride in your good; it’s not a competition or an accusation or a bargaining chip. Who cares how grandiose your gesture is, or how much time or money you spent on your commitment? Just living your life everyday by thinking that you have some good and you can put it out there should be enough to empower action.

So ask the question. And find your own good…because right after I propose these fantasy trades, I’m going to find mine.

My Alternative Spring Break with Sport In Society

       While other Northeastern students embarked on journeys to foreign countries, or took a flight down to the sandy beaches on the Florida coastline, I had the privilege of working an extra day on the Verizon Mobile Learning Lab during my spring break.  Instead of receiving a cancerous tan, or joining my roommates on their travels around the country of Spain and seeing the famous Sagrada Família church, I was helping high-school students understand the mind-boggling questions that comprise the SAT.  I can now boast that my understanding of math questions involving angles is outstandingly proficient, and the creators of the SAT might want to call me and ask for my insight in helping create new questions.  I am not bitter that I did not go somewhere tropical on my spring break, because my IQ level has skyrocketed thanks to all the practice SAT questions I helped go over with the students.  Working with high school students is an amazing experience and they are very appreciative and thankful for our help (take that Northeastern students lounging on a sandy beach!)

            On Saturday March 2nd I had the privilege of helping out at a Double Dutch tournament.  My sister visited from New York and got up early on Saturday morning to volunteer at the event.  I thought that the tournament was going to consist of freestyle routines, and some sick beats (Justin Bieber/ One Direction anyone?).  Upon my arrival at the Double Dutch tournament I soon realized that it’s not just freestyle routines that teams are judged on; rather schools have singles and doubles teams, and there are multiple rules and regulations teams must follow in order to get the best score (the higher the score the better).  The singles portion of the event took place first, the doubles portion was judged next, and then last were the freestyle routines. 

       In the Double Dutch tournament, a singles team is comprised of three people; one jumper, and two people holding the ropes.  A doubles team is comprised of four people; two jumpers and two people holding the ropes (for doubles the ropes are a little bit longer than the singles ropes).  The singles and doubles portion consists of two separate tests, the compulsory test and the speed test.   Each team is expected to perform certain tasks during the compulsory test; from two right/left turns on one foot, to executing a maximum of ten high-step jumps.  Also teams were penalized for multiple things, from poor entry to jumper miss (where the jumper would step on the ropes, and the team would have to start back up again) to poor sportsmanship.  After the compulsory test comes the speed test, where teams try and jump as many times as they can under a two-minute period.  During the speed test I can honestly say my jaw hit the floor at one point.  One team (I forgot the school’s name) was jumping almost faster than the speed of light itself, and not once did they drop the ropes.  The referee I was standing next to told me after, that the team with the lighting fast jumping had won at the Double Dutch Worlds Competition last year, where they competed against teams from other countries.

            Even though I did not get a spring break, I watched an amazing Double Dutch event where my jaw hit the floor several times, and my IQ is at least seven points higher after going over multiple SAT practice questions on the Verizon Mobile Learning Lab.  Instead of sleeping in and watching movies, I attended a Double Dutch Tournament and witnessed some amazing freestyle routines, where teams got to be a little more creative.  I saw people jumping on all fours, back flips, and one girl actually was holding onto the ropes while doing the splits (again, my jaw hit the floor).  Take that all you Northeastern students who are lounging on some remote beach, traveling in a foreign country, or probably reclining on a couch back at your parents’ house, watching movie after movie!  While I did not get a typical spring break, I had an amazing time watching kids jump over ropes, and tested my brain with some thought provoking SAT questions.

Double Dutchin It

Why didn’t they teach me double dutch when I was growing up?

Not only does it seem like tons of fun and a great body workout, but it also teaches kids some skills that cannot be taught in the classroom.


It teaches kids to work together as a team.  The person jumping in the middle cannot be successful if the two people swinging the ropes aren’t swinging in unison. The swingers must communicate to the jumper when to jump and the jumper must communicate to the swingers to slow down or speed up the rope-swinging process. If the members of the team don’t trust each other, communicate properly, and work together, then the jumper won’t be able to jump for very long.


It teaches kids patience. Jumping up and down and swinging a rope over and over again can get tiring and boring, but the kids learn to block out those thoughts and to just keep going. If they aren’t patient, then they will let down their teammates and they will let down themselves. Someone can be the best jumper in the world, but if he or she is not a patient person, then he or she will not be successful at double dutch.


It teaches kids the important concept of “mind over matter”. When the jumper thinks he can’t jump any longer, he or she will stop jumping. When the swingers think they can’t swing any longer, they will stop thinking. These kids learn to turn away these feelings of giving up, and they see that they can indeed do more than they originally had thought. They learn that their minds are stronger than they had thought.


I think double dutch should be a major part of the curriculum in elementary and middle schools because it teaches kids teamwork, patience, and perseverance – it’s a lot of fun too!