With kids, athletes play the service game

GW athletes from nearly every sport got a workout Friday night in the Marvin Center gameroom when they turned out to bowl, play pool and eat pizza with local elementary school students.

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The program was a first-time endeavor organized by the Student Activities Center, the athletic department and Neighbors Project.

“Everyone seemed to have a good time and nothing was broken,” said freshman swimmer Stephanie Huff, who organized the event along with junior volleyball player Theresa Ridder.

“I think we’re headed to a good start,” Huff said. “We want to start an athletic committee, which eventually encompasses the whole athletic program. Something coaches and athletes would participate in as a whole, because it was something they wanted to do.”

Most of the 30 athletes who participated appeared to be having as much fun as the kids. Freshman men’s basketball player Albert Roma was one of the most popular athletes. The students mobbed the 7-0 Roma as soon as he entered the room.

“When I grow up, I want to be a basketball player too,” said 10-year-old Azel Awad from H.D. Cooke Elementary School.

Awad said he hopes he will be as tall as Roma when he grows up.

“I just wanted to be with the kids,” Roma said. “Sometimes you have to give back to the community. I had a good time and I hope the kids did too.”

Bowling was the most popular event of the night for the students, who kept the athletes and volunteers on their toes gathering bowling balls and giving bowling tips to children who had never bowled before.

“I striked it! Yeah, I striked it!” 11-year-old Tiffany Rogers said, jumping up and down.

In the next lane, fellow 11-year-old Seton Elementary School classmate Chris Lamar dropped his ball while swinging it back to show fellow bowlers his technique.

“My fingers were sweaty and it just sort of slipped out like sshuwwupe.” Lamar said.

“I think it was a blast; everyone had a great time,” said graduate student Melinda Pollack, the Neighbors Project coordinator.

The next event is the April 6 NCAA Athlete For A Day program, in which 5th and 6th grade students will be paired up with a college athlete for the day.

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