The Cyclone Kick-Off Girls’ Sports Day made its debut at Mills College on Sept. 20, 2008. According to Themy-Jo Adachi, the director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, the Cyclone Kick-Off was designed to encourage interaction between Mills College athletes.
“Making the kick-off into a girls’ sports day encouraged this interaction in a friendly and subtle way that was beneficial to the community,” said Neil Virtue, Mills College’s head swim coach.
All of the Girls’ Sports Day participants attend a low-income school that does not offer sports programs, and their ages range from 8 to 12.
There were so many contributions made in preparation for this event, that Mills College did not have to spend money. Water bottles were donated by Title Nine for all athletes and lunch was donated by Whole Foods Market.
Littering the fields and meadows near the athletic department were Mills athletes wearing bright golden or blue shirts displaying “Get Caught Up,” supporting their “little sisters” as they learned about track and field, soccer and tennis. At the three different sport stations, the Mills athletes taught the girls about three important themes that are apparent in sports. Soccer athletes taught the girls about integrity while tennis athletes taught about respect, and track and field taught the girls about support. The sports day, as a whole, encouraged teamwork.
“It was nice to talk about respect, integrity, and support with the kids,” said Leslie Neill, a junior on the soccer team.
On the tennis court, Gloria Fong and Katy Dybwad were cheering on the 12 girls they brought from Lincoln Elementary School, located in northern China Town. Fong and Dybwad work for OASES, which is a comprehensive after school program where the girls sign up for workshops that their school doesn’t offer, such as dance, creative writing and sports.
“We are really glad that the girls got to be here,” Fong said. “We didn’t know if we were even going to get one girl to come!”
Colette Bolwer, Mills College’s soccer coach, and her soccer team had no problem organizing the soccer station.
“I have worked with different kids for 15 years, so I am familiar with running these kinds of clinics,” Bowler said.
She also said that the soccer team supports community outreach so they were excited to participate in the first Cyclone Kick-Off Girls’ Sports Day.
Observing nearly any girl that attended sports day, one could see a Mills Cyclone tattoo.
“Designated tattoo athletes give out tattoos of the Cyclone Ms for rewards from showing good sportsmanship and other positive things,” said Lupe Cazares, a Mills track and field athlete. “Whoever gets the most tattoos at the end of the day gets a prize.”
After the event, Robin Cumming, a senior on the Mills swim team, said, “The event went better than I was expecting. Not all of the girls came, but the athletes felt like they could get to know their little sister.”
There were little complaints about this event to be heard. Alic Shook, operations coordinator for APER, who helped organize the event said, “The biggest concern for next year’s event is recruiting little sisters to participate.”