• Spring Into Action

    From Swimmers To Softball Players, Young Athletes Tell Us What They Love About Their Favorite Warm-Weather Sports


    Spring is in the air, grass is beginning to peek through
    lingering patches of snow, and many of us are just now venturing outside to
    play again. But in athletic training facilities across the city, hundreds of
    kids have been gearing up for their spring sports seasons for weeks now. Here,
    young athletes participating in soccer, baseball, softball, swimming and track
    and field tell us what they love about their chosen sport.


    Aaron Seibert, 8

    Super Soccer Stars

    Why
    do you love playing soccer?

    I
    love soccer because I love to run around, score goals and do tricks.

    What
    advice would you give other kids who want to play soccer?

    Don’t
    stare at the ball when you play because then you won’t see the other players.
    Also, you have to work hard.

    Why
    do you like playing for Super Soccer Stars?

    I
    like playing for Super Soccer Stars because of Coach Alex—he’s my favorite
    coach. He gives me lots of practice and trains me really hard. He makes me do
    the cone exercises where you have to run around to get the ball. He also
    teaches me soccer tricks.

    Where
    do you hope to go with soccer?

    I
    want to be a professional soccer player for a team. My favorite team is LA
    Galaxy.

    We
    heard you recently underwent foot surgery. How’s your recovery coming along?

    I
    just really want to run around!


    Gabby Alvarado, 15

    Harlem RBI

    How
    long have you been playing softball? What position do you play?

    I’ve
    been playing for about six years. I play third base mostly.

    How
    do you celebrate a win?

    We
    all jump up and down, run into each other and hug each other and cheer. After
    that we sit down and discuss the positives of the team.

    What
    advice would you give other kids who want to play softball?

    I
    would tell them to not give up even when you mess up, because mistakes are
    mistakes, you learn to get better at it. And most importantly to always listen
    to your coaches.

    Why
    do you like playing with Harlem RBI?

    It’s
    free and the field is beautiful. The coaches always try their best to help you
    improve, and they also offer to help you with your school subjects. I love my
    teammates; they’re always there when I need them. It’s just a very friendly
    place.

    What
    impact has playing softball had on you?

    It’s
    taught me determination and perseverance and it’s given me so much confidence.
    It’s encouraged me to try to do better at my school work, too, because my coaches
    are not only strict about repeating plays and all that, but also about school.
    Without school you can’t go anywhere.


    11scott.jpgScott Miller, 11

    On Deck

    How
    long have you been playing baseball? What position do you play?

    Since
    I was five years old; I’ve played 12 seasons. I play first base and pitcher. I
    also play other infield positions.

    What
    do you love most about playing baseball?

    I
    like how it’s a team sport and I like the coaching and the opportunity to play
    a lot of positions. I like to hang with the kids on my team and I love to play
    in tournaments.

    What
    advice do you have for other kids who want to play baseball?

    Just
    play as much as possible so you can improve, and don’t worry about the position
    you play as long as you’re playing and learning the game. Keep practicing.

    What
    goals do you have for this season?

    I
    want to improve hitting and be able to hit to all four parts of the field. I
    want to learn how to pitch better from the stretch. Last year we didn’t have
    leading and stealing so now that there is going to be leading, I have to learn
    how to throw from the stretch.

    Do
    you have a favorite baseball player?

    My
    favorite baseball player is Robinson Cano.


    Isis Welch, 12Isis_Welch_2009_AAU_Club_Champion_Trophy.jpg

    The Armory Track and Field Center

    How
    long have you been competing in track and field? What are your events?

    I’ve
    been competing for the past five years. I do hurdles, long jump and sprints.

    What
    do you think about while you’re competing?

    I
    really don’t think about anything—I just go.

    What
    advice would you give other kids interested in track and field?

    I
    would tell them that it’s a great sport and if you do it for a while, you’ll
    get the hang of it. There’s many events you can do, so there’s one that you’re
    bound to be very good at.

    How
    do your coaches help you?

    Some
    days they teach me how to go over the hurdles faster, or I do a lot of
    sprinting. Other days it’ll be working on my long distance.

    How
    do you celebrate a win or a great track meet?

    I
    just think about I how I just won, or how I have another medal in my hands.


    11oliver.jpgOliver Jevtovic, 10

    Sportime Randall’s Island

    How did you become
    interested in playing tennis?

    I was playing soccer
    and basketball before, and my parents liked to watch tennis on TV. I started to
    watch with them, and then I wanted to play.

    What’s your favorite
    memory while playing?

    When I won a USTA
    tournament at the USTA National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows. It was a
    four-hour match in 95-degree weather. I was a set down but I came back and won
    it.

    What advice would you
    give other kids who want to play tennis?

    They have to stay
    strong and work hard. They also have to be very focused because, you know,
    there’ll be times when you’ll have to miss things like birthday parties. They
    should also enjoy the sport and have fun.

    Why
    do you like playing with Sportime Randall’s Island?

    I
    like to see John McEnroe, the former No. 1 professional tennis player in the
    world. He walks around watching us play and gives us advice. I like meeting the
    directors and working with coaches because they all help me and give me advice
    on how to improve my game.

    Where do you hope to
    go with your sport?

    My main goal with
    tennis is to be the No. 1 professional tennis player in the world. I want to
    win grand slams. I’m staying focused and it’s going to happen one day.


    Lydia Eguchi, 13; and Nadia Eguchi, 1111lydia.jpg

    Asphalt Green

    When did you
    become interested in swimming?

    Lydia: When I
    was around six. I had to sacrifice other things in order to have more time to
    swim, but I really loved swimming and I couldn’t give it up!

    What is your
    favorite swimming memory?

    Nadia: When I
    swam in a meet called the Big Swim at Asphalt Green, I got 1st place in the 25
    free, out of all the seven-year-olds who swam. When I got out of the pool, I
    grabbed the medal as the timer was trying to put it on me and put it on myself!
    Afterwards I got a trophy, and I was really happy.

    What do you love
    most about swimming?

    Lydia: I love to
    get into the water. Even in the winter, when it’s cold, it feels really good.

    Nadia: I love my
    friends on the team. I also love swim meets; they’re fun and serious at the
    same time.

    What do you find
    most challenging about swimming?

    Lydia: I find it
    really hard to be patient. It takes a while to get better. I try to fix
    everything at practice, but sometimes it doesn’t work.

    Nadia: At swim
    practice, it’s difficult when I can’t keep up with the group when I’m tired. I
    get very frustrated and sore. But I’m starting to get used to it.

    What advice
    would you give other kids interested in swimming?

    Lydia: Be
    patient and don’t think you failed when you think you didn’t do well. I try to
    find out what went wrong and then I try to fix it at practice so the next time,
    I do better.

    Nadia: I would
    say never give up. I’ve had some rough times swimming but I have never given up
    and I’m so glad I didn’t.


    Where To Play Sports In NYC

    Armory Track and Field Center, 216 Fort Washington Avenue,
    212-923-1803, armorytrack.com

    Asphalt Green, 555 East 90th Street, 212-369-8890,
    asphaltgreen.org

    Big City Volleyball, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-288-4240,
    bigcityvolleyball.com

    Chelsea Piers, 63 Chelsea Piers, 212-336-6666,
    chelseapiers.com

    dribbl and dribbl jr., Multiple Manhattan locations,
    212-717-7651, dribbl.com

    Fastbreak Kids, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-724-FAST,
    fastbreakkids.com

    Generation D at Dasha Wellness, 115 East 57th Street,
    212-755-5500, dashawellness.com

    Harlem RBI, 333 East 100th Street, 212-722-1608,
    harlemrbi.org

    Kick and Play, More than 150 locations throughout the
    Tri-State area, 212-877-5425, supersoccerstars.com

    Kids In Sports, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-744-4900,
    kisnyc.com

    Lil Sluggers, Multiple locations, 866-321-8221,
    lilsluggersnyc.com

    On Deck, Classes held at St. Jean’s Community Center (76th
    and 3rd) and the Great Lawn in Central Park, 646-808-4926, ondeckny.com

    Sheridan Fencing Academy, 1556 3rd Avenue, 212-831-0764,
    sheridanfencing.com

    Soccer By Coach Fher, Multiple Manhattan locations,
    917-650-3008, coachfher.com

    SocRoc, Various locations, 917-703-0409, jsocroc.com

    SPORTIME at Randall’s Island, 1 Randall’s Island,
    212-427-6150, sportimeny.com/randallsisland

    Super Soccer Stars, More
    than 150 locations throughout the Tri-State area, 212-877-7171,
    supersoccerstars.com

    SwimJim, Locations throughout the city, 212-749-7335,
    swimjim.com