Sports Backers Blog

Partnership for the Future, Sports Backers Provide Opportunities to Grow and Learn

‘A Day in G’s Shoes’

By: Glaster “G” Ellis, Partnership for the Future Intern with Sports Backers

Editor’s Note: Partnership for the Future (PFF) helps motivated high school students with limited resources transition from high school to college and employment, so they can become successful, contributing members of our community. With the help of business and university partners, including organizations like Sports Backers, PFF arranges college visits and workplace internships for students to help them easily transition from high school to college to the workplace. Glaster Ellis is a 2017 graduate of Highland Springs High School and is about to begin college at Hampton University, where he’ll also join the football team. He has spent the past three summers as a PFF intern with Sports Backers.

We all have that one person, place, or thing to fall back on when things aren’t going so swell; something we can count on to completely clear our minds. For me it’s always been sports. It’s as if every time I step foot on that field my mind instantly shifts gears and goes into beast mode.

There is no time to think about personal problems when playing with such intensity and at that point, the only two things running through my head are winning and making sure I’m having fun attempting to do so. Fortunately for me I’m sitting on a 100 percent success rate so it’s always been a reliable source.

As a kid, and even now to a lesser degree as I’m about to enter my freshman year of college, I faced major anger issues and had difficulty coping with them. Anytime I was ever rubbed the wrong way I was quickly pushed to the point of having an “I don’t care about anything” type of attitude, which quickly became obvious to my peers around me. Acknowledging this has been a very difficult task, but as I grew older I started to settle down a little because of maturity and simply learning to just let some things go. I also credit the changes to the guidance I received from positive male role models, including several of my coaches. These coaches, along with my mother, constantly preached that everything doesn’t need a reaction.

Being that I was brought up without a father figure in my life and no uncles it was always as if I had been searching for some type of positive male influence. I’ve always had my older brother and I’m very grateful for him but it still wasn’t the same and my cousins weren’t anything to look up to. With me being African-American I figured that it would be best for the positive male role model I was searching for to be black so that he would be capable of showing empathy for me and not just sympathy. However, that perspective changed when I met Mark Stollsteimer, my U17-18 soccer coach with the Richmond Kickers.

He was born and raised in New York, so we came from very similar backgrounds. He was the first person, outside of  my family, to actually understand me and my actions when it came to adversity that I was facing on the field. I can recount situations where I slightly touched players and got carded but opposing players blatantly tried to hurt me with little or no warning at all. With me being younger that really got to me and I didn’t understand why things were that way so that did nothing but add fuel to the fire and it became impossible for me to play my game.

What also helped mold me into the person I am today is an amazing program that I had to apply to get accepted into in 9th grade called Partnership for the Future (PFF). Partnership for the Future has been so essential because of the life-changing opportunities it has provided. Partnership for the Future’s mission is to provide high-potential high school students from challenging circumstances in the metro Richmond area with tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree. Furthermore, it helps prepare us for the real world by setting us up with summer internships to get the feel for being young adults, requiring us to work roughly 40 hours a week.

This is how I landed my very informative internship at Sports Backers, where I learned organizational and employable skills to help prepare me for college and the workforce after graduation. These last three summers have truly been amazing – from working with youth at Fairfield Court, to learning to use SalesForce computer software, to working with the Fitness Warriors program. They’ve treated me like family since day one, which made this experience that much better; I’ve always felt like I could just be myself. Being active and involved in sports has changed my life for the better and helped create opportunities for me like those available with PFF and Sports Backers, and I know it could for youth who chose to give it their all like I did.