By Anjali Ramakrishnan


I don’t know where to begin. Chaotic? Energizing yet tiring? Eye opening?

I was extremely nervous coming into the first day. I would be running the registration table, and I knew there would be papers shoved at me and fast Tamil I wouldn’t be able to understand. Since I was the secondary of my partner pair I knew I would have to run the transitions.  I would have to teach ball handling, which was one of my weak spots. In all this, I was missing the overall big picture.

The children.

Everything in camp revolves around the children and serves the purpose for the children. You have to think about them before you go to your lesson plan. Before you demonstrate the proper points of the crossover dribble you have to look over your shoulder to make sure they’re lined up where you put them 3 seconds ago. Homeroom is not just about getting organized, but about meeting and connecting with students.

I knew I would be teaching local Indian students, of course, yet the first day of camp drove the point to something much more than that. I’m here to connect, to be a role model, not just teach and worry about logistics. I’m on this trip to change the lives, mainly educationally, of over 400 kids. In that process, during camp your mind is always on the kids in front of you, whether it’s scolding them, trying to get their attention, connecting, or even a Tamil lesson, not just on how to teach a layup.

Lesson plans and drills aren’t always going to go the way you think with the children you’re working with. There’s improvisation involved, but sometimes you just have to let the kids have fun and enjoy themselves. Things like playing basketball and doing yoga. As long as you don’t let it get out of hand (which can happen pretty easily with some of the kids), live in the moment a little and adjust accordingly for the children. We’ve come all the way from the states to impact their lives, and it’s up to us to do what’s in our control for them.

I’m more confident and used to being a coach, but I know there will be moments of chaos and pure frustration. We have to remember why we are here and take it in stride.

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