Lesson Plan: Sammis Reyes

Lesson Plan: Sammis Reyes

Lead-in: What qualities do you think you need to be successful in the NFL? How difficult would it be for a basketball player to make it?

Watch this video. Why might Sammis Reyes be good at American football?: https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1377742574392201218

Lead-in: look at the pictures in the article what doyou think it might mention: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/31828911/from-chile-nfl-sammis-reyes-prepares-new-challenge-washington

Read the article: What has Sammis Reyes achieved? What obstacles has he faced?

From Chile to the NFL: Sammis Reyes’ past prepares him for new challenges with Washington

ASHBURN, Va. — When you have moved by yourself to a foreign country at age 14 with NBA dreams, learning the language informally after the school you were attending shut down and surviving on day-old donuts for two or three days and $50 a month from your parents, learning a new sport at age 25 doesn’t seem so scary.

Washington signed Reyes to a three-year deal in April after watching him work out at Florida’s pro day. Washington’s coaches acknowledge there’s a lot of work ahead to get him ready for the NFL. But they like his size (6-foot-7, 240 pounds). Reyes had been training at IMG Academy in Florida as part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. They know he’s a work in progress.

He left his home in Santiago, Chile at 14 to play high school basketball in Florida. He played three years of Division I basketball — two at Tulane, but in 32 games there from 2016-17 he averaged 0.8 points per game. He spent one season at Loyola of New Orleans, where he played occasionally. But reaching the level of an NFL team qualifies as a win. Reyes’s past — traveling a road filled with obstacles — has helped prepare him for the difficult task awaiting him in training camp.

«No one is prepared at 14 to leave home,» he said. «My story ended up being a good one, I was able to figure it out, but there [were] many times it would have been very easy for me to go a different route.»

To learn English, he borrowed a Blackberry, looking up words in the dictionary and writing them down. He filled notebooks with trickier ones, like “cucumber.” He watched The Matrix and other films with the subtitles turned on, pausing after each scene to translate. He did the same thing with rap lyrics, pulling up YouTube, using the subtitles, until he could recite every Wu-Tang lyric. It sucked, the grumbling stomach, the prospect perpetually in search of a home. Reyes even slept on a park bench one night, when he had flown back from Chile and no one knew he was coming in, so nobody picked him up.

After hearing so many times from coaches in multiple sports  that he should play football, Sammis gave it a shot. He practiced with the North Broward team during the spring of his junior year.

In one workout, with coaches from different cities in attendance, Sammis was playing defensive end. North Broward coach Roland Nottage said that Sammis made a play as by running to make a tackle «he was never taught to do … he did things on natural instincts.» He recalled the college coaches high-fiving one another.

«Where I’m from, there aren’t many opportunities,» Sammis said. «There’s a lot of drugs, a lot of violence, a lot of things I don’t want to be around. If I had stayed in Chile, maybe I’m around those things a lot more. I came here and played sports. Very different life.»

Details: Are the following true or false, according to the article?

  • He learnt English mainly at school
  • He is almost ready to play American football
  • He wanted to play basketball in the U.S.
  • He once slept outside overnight
  • His parents thought he should play American football

Match the words in bold with these definitions:

  • More difficult
  • A move or manoeuvre in a sport or game
  • Attempted to do something
  • Can be defined as
  • Had a final result
  • An agreement

Use these words to complete these sentences:

Can you remember a good_______________ from your favourite sport?

Is there something you need to do that is a lot ______________ than your other tasks/jobs?

Have you ever ____________________ for a competition or to be a professional?

How do you hope this year will________________ for you and your family?

Have you ever made a _________________ with your friends or family? What was it for?

Have you ever ________________, when you weren’t sure you would succeed?

Discussion: Ask and answer the questions

Part 2: Video. What do you think Sammis Reyes’s English is like?

Watch this video and find out.

  • Who does he think will win the game they are talking about? Is he a fan of that team?
  • How old was he when he played basketball for the Chilean national team?
  • What is the name of his own NFL team? What does he think about the name?

Match the two halves of the sentences:

I’m not a Ram’s fanplaying basketball
I grew upI was like, “why not?”
At the age of 23,and that’s my team.
It’s an opportunity for usI’m a Commander’s fan
I only root for one teamto start over

Practice the pronunciation, paying special attention to contrastive stress.

Discussion. What team are you a fan of? What do you think of their name? (does it have any connotations? How is the team going?

Bonus: Sammis Reyes highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQSfFO1aWg0

After class reading: https://www.si.com/nfl/2021/08/04/wft-rookie-sammis-reyes-incredible-path-to-the-nfl-daily-cover

Longer interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU-sh2lRelg&t=144s

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