Friday, November 11, 2011

i9 Sports

Winter is coming, don't let your geese get fat!  Even though the cold weather is hitting, i9 Sports, a recreational sports league for kids ages 3 to 14 in Durham, is not only going to keep offering great programs but is also expanding in to Chapel Hill!

I know that a lot of you parents use the Y and your local parks & rec to get some sports in for your children.  We've also covered NetSports in Morrisville as an indoor sports spot. But i9 is something different.

i9 is actually a national program, established some time ago in both North and South Wake County.  Yet when local mom and entrepeneur Kathleen Seifert discovered the program she and her son were so in love with it they just had to open up some spots for Durham and Chapel Hill parents to experience this, too.

So why is it different?  i9 Sports puts your practice and your game into one trip.  That's right, 1 trip.  If your kids are older they start out with 1 hour of practice immediately followed by a game lasting approximately 1 hour.  (For younger kids, the times are shorter, of course.)  Parents, it's a dream: 1 day of the week committed and you get both the practice and the game.

i9 offers a variety of sports, too: co-ed flag football, soccer, basketball, and even cheerleading.  Who knows what else might be added as they continue to expand?

Right now, i9 is the only spot to offer flag football for younger kids.  And while Seifert acknowledges that they have yet to really tap into the market for middle school kids, she emphasizes that not all middle schoolers have the option to play a sport they love once they hit schools with JV and Varsity teams so she encourages them to stay engaged and give i9 a try.

This particular league also places a lot of emphasis on sportsmanship.  Seifert has a degree in Elementary Education and has spent years devoted to children's education in a variety of ways.  Making sure i9 is a well-rounded, relaxed, positive experience is a passion of hers.  Kids are divided into teams, of course, for the session based first on whether or not they have preferences as to teammates and coaches followed by a complex formula based on age, weight, and height.  Each game does have a "winner" and a "loser" as this is a sports league, afterall, and Seifert says it is critical to teach kids to learn how to manage and deal with disappointment (which is part of life!).  Beyond that, each week sportsmanship awards are given out.  A different aspect of sportsmanship is taught and focused on each week and kids exemplifying that trait get an award (and new: kids who are selected to win that week also get free kids meals at a local pizzeria!).

Something else unique: there is always an i9 employee at the site of games and practices.  That means that if a parent has questions or a situation ever arises that needs addressed it can be tended to immediately.

The coaches of the teams are diverse, as well.  Some are parent coaches, some are college students.  In fact, for some of the practices there has been a Duke player or two known to show up to run some drills.

Since this is a recreational sports league you do have to register your child for an 8-week session.  Right now the cost for next session (starting in January) is $140 but you get a discount if you register early, so head to their website (see below) to check it out.  The session fee includes a team jersey, participation medal, and access to fun and games!

Currently sessions are offered at Emily Krzyzewski Center and Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham.  A Chapel Hill location will be announced soon, Seifert is just trying to finalize details.  Stay tuned to their website.

i9 Sports
Sports Recreation League for kids ages 3 - 14
http://www.i9sports.com/
For Durham & Orange Counties, click here.  phone: 919-425-2105
For Southern Wake County, click here.
For Northern Wake County, click here.

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