Off the Bench

The Alliance presents Off the Bench, which follows two South LA student-athletes as they return to school sports. This series highlights Kimorri and Jeremiah as they return to campus for rugby practice after a prolonged break due to the pandemic. They are students at one of the Alliance’s two Student Empowerment Program partner high schools.

Jeremiah notes that ICEF’s rugby program is unique since rugby is not offered at other schools in South Central LA. He credits his coaches for caring about the athletes and motivating the students to succeed. He commends the school for creating an organized academic environment that supports multiple athletics programs on campus. ICEF’s wide array of athletic team options allow students to try different sports targeted towards their athletic interests.

Jeremiah says in his neighborhood, sports are one of the few opportunities for students to escape from their surroundings. This year he is grateful to practice outside with his friends on campus.

Sports have challenged Jeremiah “to do things [he] did not think [he] could do a year ago.” As he looks ahead, Jeremiah strives to succeed and believes despite the odds, “why not prove them wrong?”

Kimorri beams as she describes the adrenaline rush and thrill of playing rugby at ICEF. She appreciates opportunities ICEF gives students to try different sports on campus to discover their strengths.

Kimorri acknowledges, “when you come from the bottom it is really hard to get to the top.” She focuses on consistency in her training as she works towards her goals. In her community, sports is an outlet and the pathway off the streets. She is excited to be return to campus for practice.

Kimorri credits sports with giving her a voice. Rugby helped Kimorri develop her identity and gave her a purpose and goals to accomplish. Sports have taught her the importance of moving past failure and trying again. Now, Kimorri is trying to share that lesson with others. She is grateful for the family bonds created by sports.

Both student-athletes are accomplished in the classroom and on the field. This series continues to cover their journey as they closeout the academic year.