Week 1

September 6th, 2012 | Uncategorized

Hey everyone!!! I have never blog about anything before, but this will be the first of many entries to tell everyone about my experience as a Victory Scholar at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown, Northern Ireland. First off, my name is Matthew Graves and I’m from Upper Marlboro, Maryland which is about 20 minutes outside of Washington D.C. I am truly blessed and very excited about the months to come as a student, coach, and player all at the same time, thanks to Sport Changes Life. I received a bachelor degree in Business Management from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina. I also played all four years for the men’s basketball team which is NCAA Division II.

As for my experience so far it has been GREAT, EXCELLENT, STUPENDOUS, and SPECIAL!! I have had a great time ever since I stepped off the plane to meet Mrs. D (Deirdre), Gareth, and their three girls (my long-lost little sisters for the year). Jim and I were immediately greeted by the Ulster Elks Basketball Club with an hour and a half conditioning session on the soccer (football) field!! Let’s just say I was pretty sluggish running laps around the field, lol. 

Last week, all of the other Victory Scholars from Galway (Gretchen and Andre) and Limerick (Sarah and Ryan) came up to Northern Ireland as we had training as Victory Scholars. The subjects ranged from safeguarding children in sport to learning different games that would not just be fun, but also encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. I can tell we all really took in what the instructors were telling us and we were able to get to know each other individually as well (I know Andre has a very big personal space, lol). 

Lastly, Jim and I have worked the past two weeks in the E-Hoops program. As the program’s session comes to a close soon, we were able to meet the boys and get a feel of what the E-Hoops program was about. It was great to hear how these kids have bonded and changed throughout the session. As one of the activities, we played soccer with them and they were running circles around Jim and I!! I couldn’t believe how good these kids were until I couldn’t score the entire hour we played!! I can definitely tell that this group of young men has made great strides as throughout their time in E-Hoops.

Sorry for the length of this entry, I just have a lot of great stories to tell about my first two weeks as a Victory Scholar!! I look forward to a great year ahead and I will keep you posted about my experience in Northern Ireland!! Talk to you later!!


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