Another successful Katie Smith mission
Current Minnesota Lynx assistant coach and former Buckeye standout Katie Smith assisted Ohio State’s LiFEsports program Friday by providing sporting equipment and at-home fitness instructions to children in the Columbus area.
Smith, the 1996 Big Ten Player of the Year who became the first female athlete in Buckeye history to have her number retired, helped assemble kits for distribution at the Beatty Community Center. She was one of several staff members who agreed to wear masks and gloves as well as keep hand sanitizer at their disposal.
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“Some things are bigger than just sports,” Smith said during a television interview with 10TV news. “It’s about the connection, that [the kids] know that you care, that you’re there for them. Just to provide these, a basketball, a football, a soccer ball and just some instruction, just knows that they’re still involved and people are still thinking of them.”
Ohio State’s LiFEsports initiative, which organized the “Sport In a Bag” event to help children potentially missing out on recreational activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, typically provides approximately 800 kids ages 9-14 with sports-themed programming each year. While the virus has forced the program to indefinitely suspend operations, it teamed with the Lindy Infante Foundation to offer families an alternative suited for current societal conditions.
“When COVID-19 hit, Stephanie [from the Lindy Infante Foundation] reached out asking how they might help,” said Rebecca Wade-Mdivanian, director of operations for LiFEsports, in a release. “After thinking for a while and having my own kids bored at home, it hit me that many of our kids might not have equipment at home. I called Stephanie and we brainstormed what it might look together and created Sport in a Bag.”
According to Ohio State, 200 families successfully received Sport In a Bag kits on Friday. LiFEsports plans to hold more distribution days in the coming weeks.
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