RCW: Softball continues "Fun and Fitness" initiative

The Kansas Jayhawks are used to getting the very best shot from their opponents, even the tiniest ones.
“We play tag with these kids and I feel like the run a little harder away from us,” senior softball pitcher and Kansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) vice president Sophia Templin said with a chuckle.
Templin and several of her Kansas softball teammates continued a “Fun and Fitness with the Jayhawks” initiative started by SAAC and KU Leads when they volunteered at St. John Catholic School in Lawrence last Friday, co-hosting a physical education class for a group of first graders.
“We’ve loved doing it in the past so KU softball wanted to do something,” Templin said. “It’s really fun and I think all of the teams really enjoy doing it because it’s a PE class so we just have fun with the kids and basically do everything they’re doing. What was really fun about last Friday is that the PE teacher incorporated some basic baseball and softball. We did some throwing and catching and we helped them hit off the tees.”
Templin, a three-year contributor in the circle for the Jayhawks, is a veteran on the field and in the community, serving as a SAAC representative for multiple years, contributing the University Daily Kansan as a journalism major, and participating in KU’s student government, among other things. Friday was just one more event for the active leader, but also an introduction for two of her freshman teammates, Becki Monaghan and Courtney Taylor, who participated along with redshirt freshman Ania Williams.
“I think they loved it,” Templin said. “It’s really hard to not have fun when you’re playing with the kids. I think it’s really great to get our freshmen to get involved right up front because its something we want them to continue on after I leave, after the other seniors leave. They really had a great time doing it and I think that a lot of them want to become more involved in doing things like that consistently.
“It’s really great to be able to interact with the kids in the community because they get to know us and we are kind of able to establish that fan base and they look up to us. In multiple PE classes I’ve been to, kids are like ‘Oh, I’m a pitcher too!’ It’s fun to get them excited about the sports we play. I think that we really enjoy playing with them and I hope they have just as much fun playing with us.
“It’s great for them and it’s great for us as well to get out of our element and remember why we like playing out sports as much as we do.”

KU Leads, the Kansas Jayhawks’ student-athlete development unit,  focuses on leadership training, community engagement, traditions and professional development to enhance the student-athlete experience. Within KU Leads, the Kansas K Club – the department’s letterwinners association – has the mission is to help preserve the history and traditions of Kansas Athletics, support current student-athletes, and connect former participants, coaches, student athletic trainers and managers of varsity sports at the University of Kansas.