Winner Wonderland: Jayden

This is Coach Konczal’s second-year with The ACE Project where she serves as both a tennis and an academic coach. She is also the nurse at Washington Elementary, and we are so relieved that she works tirelessly to ensure the health and well-being of all children. Ms. Konczal is a woman of many talents! Here is her Winner Wonderland story:

I am smiling as Ms. Eaker calls out our names, and we get lined up in our groups to do our warm ups. We start by running across the gym two times. I know I can do it, I am smiling as I run across the gym. When I get back to the start line I slide across the floor like I am sliding into home base. I am smiling and giggling as I slide onto my back. 

Next we get to run halfway across the gym, then turn and run backwards to the wall, and run as fast as we can back to the start line. I am smiling as I run as fast as I can. I am smiling because this is fun. The coaches are cheering us on as we run. I am a first grader and we try to beat the bigger kids. Our next warm up is running with “high knees”. This is hard for me, I have short legs. I smile as I try as hard as I can to keep my knees up high. I slide into home as I get back to the start line, giggling as I do.

After warm ups we work with Coach Sanders and Nurse K. Today we are working on how to trap the ball. I am excited when I can do it 10 times and call Nurse K. Look I did it 10 times, and I am smiling so big. Now we get to bump and trap the ball. This is harder but I keep trying, I can do this. I am smiling even when I miss the ball. Ms. Sanders comes over to me and asks, how many times can you do it? I say 20 and giggle. As our group is practicing trapping the ball the big kids are hitting the ball back to coaches. I am smiling as I watch them. One day I will hit the ball like that.

Ms. Eaker blows her whistle. We bear hug our rackets as we wait to hear what she has to say. Ms. Eaker explains we are going to do a dodge ball exercise. She asks us to put our rackets and balls away and go line up on the black line. I run and slide onto the black line smiling all of the time. Ms. Eaker tells us we are going to run across the gym and the coaches are going to try and get us out. Mr. James will call out groups to run. I am waiting excitedly and smiling. Mr. James calls out “If you are wearing a Washington Sweatshirt or T-shirt go. I have on my Washington sweatshirt so I run as fast as I can smiling and giggling as I go. Yay I made it across.

We continue playing until the coaches get everyone out. I am laughing and giggling because this is so much fun. Even when I get called out. Ms. Eaker calls out it is time to clean up the balls and get ready to go home. I am smiling even though I am sad we are done. We get lined up to go and I am in the front of the line. I look out the door and Nurse K is getting the snacks ready. I am smiling because we get juice and I am thirsty from all of the running. As we walk out Nurse K gives us our snacks and we go to the door to wait for our ride home. I am smiling and happy because I know we get to come to tennis again tomorrow.

Smiles, laughing, and happiness…your donation means even more of each in 2019 for our young ACE-ers, like Jayden, all thanks to tennis. Join our Winner Wonderland campaign today, and be part of the difference!

Susan Klumpner