A mixture of excitement and blues filled the air at Spiritwood Manor last Wednesday, the last day of Project Learn. The group would be on hiatus from seeing each other for the next three months during summer. Although some of the kids would be back in a couple of weeks for Summer Camp, others had plans to stay home with mom, attend summer school, or go on vacation. The last day at Spiritwood was spent face painting, gardening, BBQ-ing and cleaning up house. As everyone milled around the club, a surprise visitor came walking through the door…wide receiver Doug Baldwin from the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS!
The kids were thrilled and greeted him with hugs and high fives. Doug works out with a staff member at the club and offered to visit to talk about what it means to grow up and why it’s ok for boys to cry. Once everyone simmered down, the group went into a Q&A starting with, “Is anyone better than you?” and “Have you ever cried before?” Laughing under his breath, Doug quick wittedly answered their questions and finished off with an inspirational speech on the importance of education and working hard. When asked what the kids wanted to be when they grew up they answered with: singer, designer, artist, and professional athlete. In response to the hopeful professional athletes, Doug advised them to work hard to pursue their goal, but to work even harder in school.
“When I was growing up my uncle taught me about his toolbox of life and how the most important tool I can put in this toolbox of life is education.” His uncle encouraged him to be anything he wanted to be, teacher, doctor, lawyer, policeman, or athlete, and as long as he had the tool of education he would be successful. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, everyone has the option to do what they want but it takes hard work.” Stressing academic success is a huge priority at the Club and we appreciate Doug sharing the same vision.
As the Q&A came to an end, a whisper hesitantly came from the back of the room. “Can you play outside with us?” Unfortunately Doug had to leave, but we’re happy he made an appearance and for his commitment to inspiring our youth to BE GREAT!
Q: “Do you have to do ballet to play football?”
A: “No, but it does helps with balance and agility.”
Q: “Have you ever cried?”
A: “When I was younger I got hit really, really hard. It hurt and I teared up a little but I wouldn’t call it full out crying.” Grinning.
Q: “Is anybody better than you?”
A: “My pride won’t allow to me to say anyone is more skillful than me, some people might be faster, might be stronger. But in terms of technique, I’m the best.” He laughs.
Q: “Why do the Seahawks need you? “
A: “Dang I like that question”(Pause.) So the Seahawks don’t need anything- just food water and oxygen. They wanted me because I put in hard work they valued, they didn’t need anything. “
Q: “Do you like Dora the Explorer?”
A: “I won’t admit that because the adults are around.”