Posted By: Kelsey Ellis
Posted On: October 27th, 2016
Attending: Trinity College Dublin

My roommate Jessica Porter and I had our first coaching session with Trinity last week, and it was absolutely glorious. We were standing in the empty, freezing gym speaking with our coach, totally unsure what to expect, when a little herd of munchkins ran through the door, giggling and screaming with delight. They threw themselves onto the stack of balls in the corner and started running around as if they’d been saving energy for weeks just for that moment. A few girls, about age nine or ten, unabashedly approached us, trying to guess who we were. “Let me think,” said the one with the glasses. “You’re Jess,” she said pointing at me, “and you’re Kelsey!” (pointing at Jess). She had a 50/50 chance and failed, but it was still the most adorable thing I’d seen all semester.


Another girl approached me during a drill, and she said, “I just want to tell you that I think you’re beautiful, and I’ve only ever said that to two people in my life!” I responded by letting her know that I really appreciated it, but that I also hadn’t showered in at least 48 hours. All of them were so eager to learn that it almost made me want to cry tears of joy. Seeing them run around with each other, trying to get a ball twice the size of their heads into a basket made me remember why I fell in love with basketball. They reminded me what it was like to find joy in the sport that I’ve been playing since I was even younger than them.


At first, I was skeptical over whether or not I’d really be able to impact any kids. I kept wondering, “how can I improve their lives by teaching them how to shoot or dribble? What good am I doing?” But that first day of coaching with those grade school kids brought back my hope. I can’t even describe their excitement upon finally seeing Jess and I—the Americans. They’d even written cards for us before we had ever come to a session, telling us how thankful they are that we are there. Even if I left Ireland tomorrow, I can rest easy in knowing that I’ve helped to give those kids something to look forward to every week; I’ve played a small role in giving them a reason to scream with excitement and laugh for 45 minutes once a week.

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