Worcester State Runs Youth Sports Clinics in Costa Rica

From the Heart of the Commonwealth to the Heart of the Americas

The Worcester State University (WSU) women’s basketball team traveled to Costa Rica over the winter 2013-2014 break to run clinics for local youths, increase mutual understanding, and play some games along the way. Led by head coach Karen Tessmer and assistant coaches Meredith Galena and Meaghan O’Keefe in a program designed with Beyond Study Abroad, the Lancers conducted two basketball clinics for local Costa Rican youths and competed in two friendly matches against the Costa Rican women’s national team.

On December 29, after a breakfast of the local specialty gallo pinto, the team boarded a bus to San Ramon, a suburb of San Jose. There, at the Gimnasio Rafael Rodriquez, the Lancers held a basketball clinic for 20 San Ramon boys and girls and their families. There were no language barriers teaching round ball, as the drill stations included passing, shooting, dribbling and culminated in round-robin, half-court games. The appreciative Costa Ricans were all smiles as they learned new and fun drills.

After the New Year’s holiday, the Lancers left for nearby San Pedro, where they held a second clinic for local youths in the open-air facilities at a local high school. The Lancers conducted various shooting and passing drills with students, who proved very skilled.

That evening the team squared off in a rematch against the national Costa Rican women’s team, having lost a first game shortly after their arrival. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, the Lancers played hard and lost by only a small margin after a late surge from the Costa Rican team. The result hardly mattered, as both teams and their fans applauded one another and the Lancers presented WSU shirts to the Costa Rican players.

In all, it was an uplifting night that deepened the cultural connection that students had made during the rest of the trip. Discussions will follow as to how WSU can partner with groups in Costa Rica to continue to cultivate the goodwill between our schools, our young people, and our nations.

Photo: The Lancers meet with local youths and their families for a clinic in San Pedro.