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For the past six years, the Kent Roosevelt girls basketball team's weekly schedule has included three constants: Games, practices and visits to Hattie Larlham on Thursday nights.
With every coach seemingly fighting for as much practice time as possible, Rough Riders leader Craig Foreman walked his own path and made a commitment that Thursdays would be an off-the-court opportunity for his team.
Since 2011-12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. or later, Kent Roosevelt's girls basketball team has dedicated itself to Hattie Larlham, which is located in Mantua and is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for more than 1,800 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Kent Roosevelt's diligence and sincerity earned the Rough Riders the Hattie Larlham "Outstanding Group" award at Friday's Friendship Luncheon.
"The girls were super excited," Foreman said. "The girls put in the time and they didn't do it so that they would win an award. They did it because they enjoyed it and wanted to be there, but it was nice to get recognized. One of my favorite quotes is, 'You should never be proud of doing the right thing. You should just do it.' But I think it was a good lesson to our team that their hard work did not go unnoticed."
Foreman's vision for his team to get involved at Hattie Larlham hatched after he visited the center for the first time with his church.
The visit impacted him so much that he carried his thoughts to school with him the next week and talked briefly with a couple of his students, who were also players on his girls basketball team.
Talking turned into action, with four players and the Riders' coaching staff being the initial group that volunteered.
And they quickly fell in love with it.
"Before you knew it, we were going every Thursday," Foreman said. "And our small group grew to our entire varsity team."
One of the first girls to volunteer, Audrey Coyne, is now pursuing a career as a support professional for children and adults with disabilities.
For the Rough Riders, the volunteer work is genuinely embraced.
It is a commitment and a breathing part of the culture Foreman has created in his 11 years guiding the program.
"It really has become something special to our team," said Foreman, who said his children oftentimes join him and the team at the volunteer sessions. "It is definitely a part of the family atmosphere we have. Every girl aspires to be a varsity player, because they simply want to play varsity, but they get excited because they also know they now get to volunteer at Hattie.
"The older players take the younger players under their wings and help guide them on how to mentor. It really is a special thing to see the team bonding," Foreman said.
And on one special day each season, the Rough Riders' team roster expands to include visitors from Hattie Larlham for the team's "Hoops for Hattie" charity showcase game.
The game is anticipated by Roosevelt players, as well as their friends from Hattie.
The same way as Thursday's weekly visits are filled with enthusiasm.
"On Thursdays, we may have a small shootaround, but the day is dedicated to Hattie," Foreman said. "We play on Wednesday nights and if we win, it is great to carry that excitement into Thursday's time at Hattie. If we lose, our visit is a great pick-me-up for the team and offers a lot of perspective. It rejuvenates the team and has led to some hard, good practices on Fridays."
The energy that the Rough Riders have pulled from their relationship with Hattie Larlham has impacted Foreman so much that he states, "Honestly, I wouldn't coach anymore if were not able to do this."
"I love education, I love the classroom, I love coaching basketball, but when it comes down to it, I think you have to be in this job to help students become better people," Foreman said. "We are a very competitive group, and we want to win, but our ultimate goal is to build better people."
That is another constant that certainly can be added to the Kent Roosevelt girls basketball program's list.