Knox kicks off “Try Something New” athletic program

Published 12:10 am Monday, August 15, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — The Knox Center for Accelerated Studies’ Athletic Department launched its alternative athletics program on Saturday with a punt, pass and kick competition.

Darrin Turner, athletic director at Knox, collaborated with Curtis Miller, a coach of the Salisbury 49ers AAU football team, to create the “Try Something New” Sports Program to get students involved in non-traditional sports.

Instead of basketball, baseball and football, students in this program will be able to participate in speed jumping, double dutch, flag football, lacrosse, bowling, coed volleyball and kickball.

“It’s sports that all kids, whether skilled or unskilled, can participate in,” Turner said.

Turner said the program will start with sports and then weave in STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, components.

There will be two athletic and academic field days where the program participants will showcase their skills.

The program is open to all public, private and home school students, not just students at Knox.

Students in fifth to eighth grade can participate, and Turner said it is also a way to get fifth graders interested in joining sports when they get to middle school.

Only about six children showed up for the opening day ceremony and kick-off, but they seemed to have had a good time learning to punt and kick field goals.

The children ranged from some who had very little experience with football to those on the Knox football team, but they all had something to learn when it came to punting and kicking.

“They’re out here trying, and that’s what I love,” Turner said.

Since there were only a few kids, the volunteers were able to work with the students individually and give them personal advice.

Turner said for this sport and other alternative sports, there will be coaches to train and teach the students to help them succeed. He wants to be able to build personal and positive relationships with the students.

Turner also hopes the program will grow to have adult teams.

He said as more children participate and more of their parents come to watch, the program will take off.

“Hopefully this thing will have a snowball effect,” he said.

Curtis Miller said the program he helped with in Atlanta was huge.

He said he enjoys the chance to mentor students and expose them to something they may not have ever done before.

“The program will give you the opportunity to learn who you are,” he said.

Miller also said the program may help students build relationships because of the athletic and academic events that will take place during the field days.

“Athletes will be cheering for the so-called smart kids and the smart kids will be cheering for the athletes,” he said.

The students who attended the opening day ceremony were all cheering for each other as they kicked footballs across the field.

Jackson Murphy and some of his Knox football teammates decided to attend the event.

“I saw the opportunity to get better at kicking and punting,” he said.

He said he learned how to aim when kicking a field goal.

Madison Daniels plays a lot of football and some basketball, but she didn’t know much about kicking and punting.

She said she attended because she loves sports, so any opportunity to get better is a good one.

“It’s just a few of us but it’s still fun to do,” she said.

An official punt, pass and kick competition will take place in September where students will be able to qualify for the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick competition.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.