KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Back in June, FOX4 featured the freshman football squad for the Gators of KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City. The new squad is the first football team the charter school ever fielded. The only problem, back then, the Gators didn’t have a field. They practiced in a parking lot.
Thanks to viewers, local business owners, and none other than Tech N9ne, a lot has changed in just a couple of months.
“I received a phone call from my mom, she was watching the news, she saw the boys training on the asphalt,” said Nina Vitale, co-owner of Brickyard Fitness. “And she said ‘Absolutely not. Get a hold of Scorpio get them down on your turf’.”
Vitale is a longtime friend of Gators head coach Scorpio Horn.
To go along with their new indoor practice facility, the owners of Brickyard Fitness also shared the story of the Gators with Tech N9ne.
“We visited with Tech a little bit about our involvement with the boys,” said Steve Ralos, fellow co-owner of Brickyard Fitness. “And he was interested in getting involved and talking with the boys and he was excited right from the get-go when we brought it up, he had tons of questions.”
On Saturday, the Gators will have a meet-and-greet with Tech N9ne.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Kenneth Jackson, who plays center and defensive tackle. “I want to go see him, it’s going to be my first time, it’s going to be fun.”
Other local businesses, including local attorney Phil LeVota, offered to supply food, equipment and organized fundraisers.
“These kids are lunchbox-type kids, ‘What else coach? What else can I do?’,” said head coach Scorpio Horn. “I tried to cancel practice on a Saturday, they said, ‘No coach, we can’t cancel’.”
The Gators first game is a week from Wednesday against Aquinas.
“We don’t have the juniors, we don’t have the sophomores, our freshman are our seniors,” said Michael Cobbins, the school’s athletic director. “So we’re going to teach them how to be leaders. We’re going to have to mold them out to be leaders. And three years from now, if we keep these kids; we’re gonna be a problem.”