Luke Cage

Posted By: Will Koppenhaver
Posted On: December 4th, 2016
Attending: Ulster University

            My latest Netflix series.  Luke Cage is a show based on the Marvel super hero in Harlem. Like other Marvel superheroes, Luke Cage fell victim to a scientific research program and was left with super powers.  In his case, he was left with super strength and bulletproof skin.  He fights to protect his local Harlem neighborhood and doesn’t do it with a cape.  In fact, he does it while wearing a hoodie.  Now, anyone who knows the show recognizes the irony in this superhero’s outfit and character.  However, for those who do not know the show should understand that Luke Cage not only fights to protect others, but also stands for a group of people who have been neglected by the society they live in (among many other things).

            As I watched this television show, Luke Cage stayed on my mind for days as I continued my coaching in the community.  I thought about Luke Cage and what he stood for.  I thought of him as a symbol in the community that I am working in.  A lot of the children I have been working with come from disadvantaged communities like Luke Cage’s.  A lot of them have been neglected and seen as a problem by their own community.  It is never easy working with children, especially if you are asking them to try something new.  In recent weeks, one of the schools I have been coaching at has one child who has given me problems consistently.  This child refuses to listen, talks while I am talking, and distracts others during the time we are playing.  As I coach his group week to week, I see the children making the same mistakes repeatedly.  This is frustrating as a coach because you feel like you are doing something wrong.  Working with children is like solving a puzzle.  If something doesn’t work you have to try something else.  Each week I try something new and try to maintain some of the other things that we had learned previously.  After a couple of weeks, I finally saw something change.

            As we played a full basketball match, I began to see the child who was giving me problems start to pass the ball more.  I saw him begin to cheer his teammates on when they scored.  It looked as if he was finally making strides towards improvement.  This is the kind of thing I am looking for as a coach and as a mentor to these kids.  Like Luke Cage, you cannot judge someone by how they look.  Just because someone appears to be a problem to their community doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay that way.  Oftentimes there just needs to be an opportunity.  #BeTheSolution


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