On Wednesday, December 28, Beat the Streets held its newest Life Skills installment-- Tough Choices, Good Decisions. The presentation, which was attended by 59 young wrestlers of varying ages, was taught by Coach Randy, an “international keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and edutainer” and CEO of Project NextGen. The event was held at Brooklyn Technical High School following the first day of Winter Break Training Camp.
The presentation began by highlighting the various challenges teens face and how these challenges may be more difficult to deal with now, more than ever. Coach Randy asked the kids to name their top three goals. The room erupted with many: “go to Penn State,” “do well at Mayor’s Cup,” “2020 Olympics,” “become a national champ,” “become a better wrestler,” “go to college.” Coach Randy then asked them to name their biggest obstacles: "girls," "student loans," "grades," and "yourself" were among the answers.
It seemed that, for obstacles, "yourself" was the right answer. Coach Randy explained that people often place blame on others. Blame is usually the first place to realize personal responsibility. Realizing that blame can lie with yourself hones the ability to make personal choices with something that every individual uniquely possesses -- "your mind."
Coach Randy discussed that it's easy to say no to a stranger, but it's difficult to say no to a friend because the latter is usually the gateway to tough choices. In either situation, it is up to the individual to make the right decision. Coach Randy additionally did a "Moral Compass" exercise with various scenarios, getting interesting, real-time, anonymous answers from the kids. He then also presented facts related to typical tough choices in order to counter misinformation they may be hearing.
The Tough Choices, Good Decisions presentation was summarized by Coach Jacque Davis, BTS head girls coach, as being about “trusting yourself, knowing yourself, and making the tough choice for an overall long term good decision.”
Coach Jacque found the seminar to be informative and insightful. “I loved that he pointed out that ‘it is easy to say no to strangers, but it is hard to say no to friends.’ The kids had an awesome reaction where they realized that if the people around them were giving them a hard time about not doing something, such as drinking, smoking, stealing, skipping practice, or something else, then they probably aren't really friends.” She gave her own take on such friends: “Like a wilted flower, you have to nip them at the bud.”
YuXi Shi from Newtown High School thought the presentation was “inspirational and motivating” and felt that Coach Randy “involved a lot of people.” She added that compared to the typical school presentations she may have heard before on similar topics, this one was “very casual and not as rigid as other presentations.”
Brian Zen from High School for Dual Language & Asian Studies agreed that Coach Randy was very engaging. He described how Coach Randy “would directly walk up to the person he was talking to in order to engage his viewers,” which was better than talking at a whole audience generally.
We hope that Life Skills continues to have installments as informative and engaging as this one with Coach Randy!