It’s Thursday afternoon and the Tubman Toads are getting ready to take on the Thomson Tigers in the first Elementary School game of the season.
Rakiya, a fifth grader on the Tubman team, is putting on her shin guards with the help of her teammate, Tiffany.
“It’s good because we’re getting back together. It’s nice to see everyone.”
Enoch is looking forward to the opportunities the new season is sure to provide.
“Today’s going to be good, ‘cause we get to play and we get to move to another level. ‘Cause we’re better now."
Kibriyaa agrees, “All the time that we practice, now it’s our time to shine!”
Coaches hand out socks and extra jerseys and the Tubman Toads gather around to prepare to play. When everyone is properly attired, the team takes a couple of warm up laps around the field, yelling and laughing to one another as they go. It’s a warm, sunny day in Columbia Heights and teachers, parents, and siblings have all come out to watch the game.
Misalia, the mother of Marco, a member of the Tubman team, has brought his two younger brothers to cheer at the sidelines. They sit on a blanket by the Tubman goal, enjoying a picnic while they wait for the game to start. Marco has been with DC SCORES for three years, and Misalia looks forward to the day when her young sons can join as well.
“I love watching the game, and he loves playing it. The whole family loves it,” she says, “DC SCORES is really good for us.”
The feelings are just as positive over on the Thomson side, where the kids have arrived by bus, and are stretching, doing jumping jacks and waving to their friends on the other side of the field. As the girls get ready to take the pitch for the 4 o’clock game, I ask the boys to give me some thoughts on the upcoming season.
“This season’s going to be hot,” Dany says, fanning himself with his hand.
“Oh, and also great, probably.”
Junior tells me that he’s excited.
“I’m going to score goals.”
A lot of goals?
Junior nods nonchalantly. He takes a sip of water. No big deal.
The girls game begins and both sidelines are loud with the encouragement of their teammates. While both teams push one another to win, they keep it all in perspective.
“We just have to remember: respect yourself, others, respect your teammates. We’re all just here for fun,” says Kibriyaa.
With that attitude, it’s sure to be a successful season.