Beat the Streets’ middle school Junior League season officially began last week after BTS hosted several Kick-Off events throughout New York City.
Tottenville High School in Staten Island, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn and Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx opened their doors and wrestling rooms to over 300 students and parents to take part in guided practices, informational sessions, and post-event meals.
Each Kick-Off event began with a short practice led by either a high school coach, a BTS Training Center coach, or Junior League Director Penn Gottfried. These practices put many of the young wrestlers on the mat for the first or one of the first times ever so interacting with engaged, experienced coaches in a supportive setting is one of the main goals of the Kick-Offs and a key to leaving a lasting first impression of the sport.
After the practice sessions, everyone in attendance gathered in the school’s cafeteria for pizza and a talk about the benefits of wrestling overall and Beat the Streets in general. Some of the topics discussed were our Wrestler’s Mark Character Awards program, matriculating to and wrestling in high school and beyond; the structure of the Junior League schedule, and several other topics.
Another helpful element of the events was the integration of the school’s high school wrestlers. From having the Tottenville and Cardozo teams helping to direct practice to Murrow’s training center practice going on next to the Junior League event and Eagle bringing high schoolers from their school and nearby schools, there were more than enough young, positive role models to look up and examples of wrestling’s impact.
The full Junior League season will consist of team practices, Match Nights against other city teams, and a Junior League City Championship in mid-December.
"Kick-off week is one of my favorite weeks of the Junior League season. It allows Beat the Streets to connect with so many kids and parents individually and really start the season off strong. It also enables us to discuss with parents the numerous opportunities BTS and the sport of wrestling can provide to their children. This year was a great success and I think it is an indicator of a great season ahead." – Penn Gottfried, Junior League Director
"The Kick-Off event was amazing. I think it's great to start the season off with the coaches getting together, the kids making friends from other schools, and the parents becoming more familiar with the Beat the Streets staff and programming." - Steven Santimauro, Brooklyn Landmark Elementary
“My son has definitely been excited to start participating in the program and meeting other coaches and students from other schools. Before he would just play sports on his own with his friends in the park. I do enjoy that Beat the Streets gives the kids something to do rather than just hanging out. My older son was in Beat the Streets and I think it helped him with his focus and his drive to want to be committed to something. I’m big on, if you make a commitment to something, you have to see it through, so that helped him in that regard.” - Daisy Garay, Parent of new Junior League wrestler and BTS alumnus
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