The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

Meet the Staff

Delaney Bayliss is a junior and a reporter on staff. She has been a member of the Free State choir program as well as the girl's soccer program for 3 years. Outside of journalism, Delaney enjoys reading,...

Barah’s Workouts


If one happened to witness the 50-plus people shoveling the soccer field in preparation for the girls’ upcoming season, it would be evident that Free State soccer is more than just another sports program–it’s a family.

Parents, boy players and coaches all chipped in to clear the field, showcasing the family-like community Kelly Barah has tried to establish since becoming head coach.

“The soccer program has always operated under the theme of Ubuntu,” Barah said.

The African word simply means, “I am who I am because of who we are,” yet these few words encompass the values Barah instills in his players. It is the basis for the entire philosophy of the program.

Under Ubuntu, Barah has stressed the importance of helping and giving back to each other, focused on the whole instead of the individual.

“It’s a welcoming theme,” Barah said.

This explains the eclectic array of helpers who showed up to rid the field of snow. In exchange for the workouts Barah has offered for almost two years now, some adults who usually attend them came to shovel the field that day.

“He has parent workouts for anyone and everyone,” junior Alex Trent said. “That started as just a couple parents but then it has basketball moms and dads, football, baseball. People are just getting in shape and having fun.”

While not only establishing an atmosphere of mutual support, the workouts provide an enjoyable way to get into shape that doesn’t exclude anyone. No matter age, gender, or level of fitness, all people are welcome and encouraged to participate in the exercise community.

The parent workout was designed to connect players with their families as well, for other family members get an opportunity to understand their child’s playing experience.

“Involving parents and other family members so they get a chance to experience what we experience is a good thing,” Trent said.

Including other family members into a soccer routine has helped develop the program into the family environment Barah has strived to create.

Barah also organizes boys and girls soccer conditioning in the summer and winter that’s open to anyone wanting to get into shape, not just soccer players.

“Boys conditioning is mostly outside so we do a lot more sand [sprints],” junior Olivia Hodison said. “There’s a lot more actual conditioning than anything and then girls [conditioning] is a lot like strengthening techniques.”

Rumors of 56 sprints and 168 push-ups per session have led Barah’s daunting workouts  to be regarded with respectful fear. Stories of players throwing up or even fainting from exhaustion have made the rounds within Free State’s walls. The workouts have gained, and justified, a reputation for their intensity.

The parent workout, infamous for lasting a short and sweet 16 minutes, is no less sweat-inducing. The parent workout involves less running, but requires participants to exert themselves at a more rapid pace.

“Actually, I feel like the parent workouts are almost as hard or harder in different ways than what we do,” Trent said.

Despite minor differences in the actual activities, all workouts share the common goal of promoting a philosophy of communal support through exercising. These moral ideologies have successfully been carried through the girls soccer program and led to relationships within the team.

“Last year we kind of started the Band of Sisters which was really just everyone coming together,” Hodison said.

By establishing a close-knit group of teammates who felt comfortable together off the field, the girls were able to see success on the field, by winning the program’s first regional championship.

“We all like knew each other and I mean there weren’t like separate groups within the team,” Hodison said.

While the familial bonds created Free State history, exercise under Barah’s supervision can also lead to achieving minor, more personal, goals. Success doesn’t have to come in the form of a plaque: it can come from merely beating your split jump record.

“If you can show people that they’re capable of doing so much more than they thought they could,” Barah said, “that’s a great way to get them and a lot of people together and share the same goal [of] working towards the same goal.”

Barah uses exercise as a metaphor for the real life, showing that traits such as teamwork, respect and dedication can be applied inside and outside of working out.

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