Darius is a warm and friendly 17-year-old from Saskatoon who loves playing any sport you can think of; football, baseball, soccer, snowboarding, parkour and slacklining, martial arts, and even the occasional cliff dive. But years ago, before sport became part of his daily life, his life trajectory was much different.
Starting at a young age, Darius was very creative and hands-on, with a lot of energy – which manifested into unproductive behaviours with his former friends and trouble at home. After a particularly difficult stretch in elementary school, one of his school’s Dream Broker consultants stepped in to try something different.
“They recommended I do sports to drain all my energy. I wanted to get into a new routine,” Darius says. “The school had Dream Broker consultants from SaskSport, who work alongside KidSport, so my mom connected with them and set it up because it would have cost a lot of money to be involved with all the sports.”
Winning Medals and Gaining Discipline
KidSport Saskatchewan is a Youth+Us partner that provides young people with opportunities to discover and play sports, promoting values of teamwork, physical health, and self-discipline. With their help, Darius started playing anywhere and anytime he could. And it’s paid off – he has played football for Team Saskatchewan, he’s got an oversized championship ring from his previous high school, and he laughs, “I’ve won two, or maybe three, medals with martial arts. I forget.” He practices parkour in the backyard, making obstacle courses to run (with his mom checking in to make sure nothing bad happens). When it’s too cold for that, he makes rinks in the yard instead. He’s become an outstanding influence for his younger sister, Amira, building her see-saws out of spare lumber and tires.
The MMA training he has done through KidSport has given him a place to be more hands-on, something he likes to do when he’s learning. It’s redirected his former destructive tendencies into something full of discipline and skill. And in football, he discovered a love of long-distance running, which helped him become a critical addition to his team as a wide receiver and backup quarterback.
“KidSport made a huge impact. I look back to 10 years ago when I was getting into trouble, and it’s hard to believe. My mom still talks with the moms of the kids I hung out with, and some of them are in jail or worse.”
Succeeding with KidSport Saskatchewan
Darius is just one of the thousands of kids that KidSport Saskatchewan has helped to find new passions and build new opportunities. “The program is great because it helps other kids to be involved and get out there, and it takes off a lot of pressure on parents when it comes to finding activities and the costs,” Darius explains. “They have an amazing support team that helps you all the way. Their Dream Broker partners even help to organize transportation or show up for games, just so you know they’re there to support you.”