Fifth-graders from Ferguson Elementary in Duluth pose for pictures with representatives from GO Kickball, who donated 28 kickballs to the school on Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)
DULUTH — Every time Myles Burney steps up to play kickball, the long-legged and athletic fifth-grader at Ferguson Elementary aims for a home run.
On Tuesday, during a game in front of his school, Burney launched a ball over the heads of most of his classmates, and while grinning, used those strides to sprint around the bases in a flash.
Out of breath, Burney said it was fun and exciting, and that he appreciates any time he can play kickball.
Thanks to Atlanta-based GO Kickball, students at Ferguson now have more and better quality kickballs to boot across the field. The sports and social networking organization that hosts 17 leagues and some 4,000 adults each season in parks in and around Atlanta donated 28 kickballs to the school.
“I’ve been looking for a way to use these kickballs in a better way than they’ve been used before,” said C.J. Gilson, Atlanta Operations Coordinator for GO Kickball, who was a pitcher on Tuesday for the Ferguson students. “We found a great way to be able to give back.”
Burney and classmate Randie Garcia said it was really nice that GO Kickball made the donation, and they planned to spread the wealth to all students at the school.
This is the first time GO Kickball donated kickballs to a school, and they were connected to Ferguson through fifth-grade teacher Chaney Moon, who plays in one of the leagues on Wednesday nights.
“It’s cool because our product is for adults, but it’s something you learn as a kid,” said Chris Harvey, marketing and advertising coordinator at GO Kickball.
Ferguson is a Title I school, and 96 percent of its students receive free or reduced price lunch at school. It also has limited playground equipment, and no bases, so playing kickball is a highlight, even using chalk or spray paint for bases.
The school also started an intramural club, which will also use the donated balls, because the GO Kickball balls are more durable than the balls already at the school.
“This is huge,” Moon said. “One thing I’ve noticed is how much better they are. The first time we played it, they didn’t know where to run, they didn’t know what an out was, and now they really get it.”
On the day before the school started criterion-referenced competency tests, or CRCTs, Moon said playing kickball was just what students and teachers needed.
“They’re all involved, we don’t have to worry about kids getting in trouble because they’re playing kickball,” she said. “They love it, and they play it every single chance they get.”
And that was just what Gilson and Harvey wanted to see.
“Hopefully they get a chance to play, and have as much fun as we have on a season by season basis,” Gilson said.