Nine13Sports…LIVE at School 91..!
Tom Hanley, Executive Director of Nine13Sports, has had his share of success as former elite track cyclist. Due to a significant life-changing experience that ended his cycling career, he chose to focus his energy, passion and heart into creating a Not-For-Profit aimed at introducing children and their communities to the great activity of Bicycling. Today, through the efforts of Nine13Sports, he and his associates continue to have success as measured by the massive amounts of grins, giggles and outright yelps of joy as kid after kid experience the joys of bicycling, some for the very 1st time..! I know this is true, because I had a chance to experience this in person as I visited one of Nine13’s sessions held at IPS School Rousseau McClellan 91 this past week.
I had spoken with Tom, seen photos and even some video news footage of one of his classes but nothing compares to see the look on these children’s faces as they participate in a “friendly competition.” This happens by enabling them to ride stationary bicycleswhich are hooked up to a large flat-screen TV , allowing them to see their “results” in real time!
The brilliant concept behind Nine13Sport’s philosophy is getting kids introduced or in some cases, re-introduced to the activity of bicycling by appealing to the “gamification” gene” of youths. “My legs hurt..!” yells one child as he still continues to pedal, (with a smile on his face mind you…) “I’m flyin man….I’m flyin..!!” blurts another.
Tom has worked with various school systems to integrate structured bicycling exercise classes into their gym-time curriculums. This enables several small groups of children to rotate through an afternoon session while still completing their other gym activities. Gathering data from each class sessions, Tom can provide the schools a cumulative total of bicycling time for each student. This information is also beneficial in providing a measurable health outcome by the students over the course of the program.
Nine13Sports provides, sets up and removes all of the necessary equipment for each session. Tom controls the various “courses” which display on the video screen, which matches the color tag/number on each student’s bike with a corresponding virtual rider on the monitor. He also “coaches and motivates” the students as they perform each of the structured exercises for the afternoon’s session.
As Tom stated to me during my visit: “This is the coolest office I could ever work in….!”
Just then, the next round of children literally come running to their bike stations for a repeat turn..! “Please walk ….no running..!” ( obligatory safety remark by Tom ). …..But can you blame them…??
For more information about this program or other services provided by Nine13Sports, visit www.Nine13Sports.org