The UMBC volleyball team visited the fifth grade of Catonsville Elementary Tuesday morning to discuss the benefits of hard work. Members of the team fielded questions from the students and explained how they went from being elementary students to becoming Division One athletes.
“One of the goals of our team is to be more involved in the community surrounding our university,” said eighth year head coach Ian Blanchard. “Our players need to be role models for young women in the area and represent the good that can come from hard work, in and out of the classroom, as well as the importance of striving for good grades and exercising.”
The students asked a variety of questions, from what other sports the student-athletes played when they were younger to what number they wear on the court. The most intriguing question, though, stemmed from what seemed like an ordinary inquiry, “what do you remember from when you were in fifth grade?”. While many of the stories consisted of playing sports after school while finding time to complete homework, the students were most captivated by junior Mallory McIntyre’s story of adopting a polar bear with her class. Before shouts to adopt their own polar bear were raised, McIntyre quickly reminded the kids that she is from Winnipeg, Canada.
Following the question and answer session, the team interacted with the students and invited them to the Retrievers’ home match against Providence on Sunday, Sept. 30, at the RAC Arena. And while the team was trying to bring the kids in for support, the kids may have done the best recruiting.
“It’s important for our athletes to understand what a great opportunity they have right now and to pay it forward to the community,” Blanchard said. “I think they recognized this because the most common phrase on the way home was ‘when can we do this again?’ ”