City Schools student challenges best-selling author Wes Moore to squash match
“I’m going to beat Wes Moore in a game of squash,” says Nytiece, a student athlete at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
Nytiece is one of many Baltimore City Public Schools students in SquashWise, a program that provides academic tutoring and athletic coaching. They not only learn how to play squash, they get extra help with schoolwork.
After reading Moore's book, The Other Wes Moore, in one of their study sessions, Nytiece wrote the author a letter challenging him to a squash match. Moore said yes!
“I learned more about, not just squash, but SquashWise, and just what an amazing organization it is, and how squash is the hook,” says Wes Moore. “Squash is what gets kids in, but it’s so much more than that. It’s not just about physical health, it’s about emotional health and academic health, and the more I learned about SquashWise, the more I fell in love with the work that they do.”
Moore, who said he had never played squash before, asked Nytiece for a few pointers. The two first met a week before the match for a practice round.
Then came the real game. A lot of people came out to watch and cheer, including students, parents, City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso, and school board chairman Neil Duke.
“The match was really exciting," says Abby Markoe, Executive Director of SquashWise. "It was a very physical match. There was lots of lunging and stretching and reaching and jumping and running into each other, which tends to happen when there are beginners on the court."
Nytiece won the match, but it wasn't just about the score.
“He’s good, and he’s very gracious, and he’s not only just a great kid, he’s just an incredible sportsman,” says Moore of his young challenger.
“He actually did really well for his second time playing,” says Nytiece. “Most people can’t do half the stuff he did.”
“SquashWise is a great program," says Betty Belle, Nytiece's mother. "It keeps him busy, it keeps him motivated, it has a lot of support, it helps him with schoolwork It helps Nytiece stay well-rounded and grounded."