By George Baldini
And finally, after one long year, we’re going back. I’ve been looking forward to this July ever since we touched down in Boston last year. My experience in Chennai was so special to me that I couldn’t go a year without Crossover. In order to sustain this passion, I’ve kept in touch with the coaches and head of Crossover, Shaun. While I have missed our students, what really resonated with me was how great of people the coaches are. I didn’t expect I’d develop such close and lasting relationships with them. From hanging out with Jonah at Harvard to spending a day with Kasey at Phillips Andover, I’ve kept them in close contact which has helped make this school year back home fly by faster and has gotten me even more excited to return to India with them.
In addition to developing these relationships with my fellow team members, my trip to Chennai helped foster my interest in social justice and economics. I love Crossover’s goal of encouraging success through education and encouraging education through sport – two of my favorite passions. Crossover has helped change my perception of basketball from just a game to a life-changing tool capable of encouraging success in the classroom, in the home, and beyond. By taking advantage of basketball’s important lessons such as leadership, character, teamwork, and communication, you can become a better person in whatever facet of life you choose. You can translate the lessons of tedious preparation before and the fiery determination during a game into your studying routine for a test. You can translate the characteristics of leadership on the court into leadership positions elsewhere such as class president in school. Concerning economics, I couldn’t help but wonder: “look, India has been around longer than some of the leading economic powerhouses in the world. How has India differed in its growth from these other countries? How has India developed such a great disparity between its rich and poor?” Such questions like these spurred my interests in developmental economics.
However, after realizing I had all these new interests, what was I actually going to do with them? And this is where my relationship with Crossover founder and president, Shaun Jayachandran, has been so important to me. He’s helped kindle these interests throughout the year by keeping me involved and asking for my input concerning the growth and change of Crossover. He’s introduced me to all kinds of people with similar interests, so I can learn more. He’s encouraged me to keep all my learning fresh in my mind, so I presented to my school what I did with Crossover last summer and what I’ve learned; I’ve created my own course to take next year on how social justice can be achieved through sport. He helped introduce me to Wheelock College – for whom I am interning this summer to not only help them out but also learn more about these interests.
I could go on forever, but what I’d like to thank my fellow coaches for and what I’d like everyone to know about our team at Crossover before we return to Chennai is how nice, interested, and helpful they are. They’re great friends to hang out with. They’re great coworkers to talk to about how we can improve our program. And they’re the most helpful of advisors to me as I continue to grow in my learning and passion for these lessons Crossover so greatly values.