May 13, 2016

Coach gets a kick from showing girls the skills and joy of sports

By John Shaughnessy

Patty KoorsBeing legally blind, Patty Koors has a few tricks that has let her coach kickball for 27 years in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).

“I have a strategy. I run everything from a clipboard. So I know who I have in every position—because it’s so difficult when they’re all out there in the same uniform. It helps me know where they are when they are out there.

“And if I’m not sure which girl is up [to kick], I’ll say something like, ‘Hey, Beautiful!’ ”

Koors also relies on the approach she uses as the kindergarten teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Indianapolis.

“The teacher in me transfers to the field—being positive and teaching the foundations, which is what I do in kindergarten. Teaching the skills, stressing being a team player, building their confidence. The key is explaining everything.”

It’s an approach that has led to a unique distinction for her among all St. John Bosco Award recipients through the years, said Ed Tinder, the executive director of the archdiocese’s CYO program.

“We have never received more recommendation letters for any candidate in the history of the award,” Tinder said. “This is the 62nd year that this award has been presented.”

Koors prefers to keep the focus on the girls and the opportunities they get through the CYO.

“I firmly believe CYO teaches life skills—working together, relying on each other, seeing the good in each other. CYO gives them the opportunity to learn the basic skills, but it also gives them the opportunity to succeed and grow in confidence. One of the reasons I’m still involved in CYO is the joy and excitement of the girls as they catch that first fly ball, get to base safely, kick a home run.

“Seeing the way that the girls begin to trust and rely on each other as a team is a key factor. They discover each other’s talents as well as encourage each other. Those are the things that are successes for the girls personally and as a team.” †


Related story: Seven receive Catholic Youth Organization’s highest honor

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