JOPLIN, Mo. — With the Warrior Classic basketball tournament scheduled for this week, the snow days could not have come at a worse time for Mike Howard.

Howard, McAuley Catholic athletic director/girls basketball coach, says, “We’re gonna try to get a lot of games in tomorrow, some of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games hopefully tomorrow, and then a full slate on Saturday.”

Instead of having his team work out indoors during their snow days, Howard decided to have them do something that doubled not just as a workout, but also as community service.

Howard says, “It’s kind of like knocking out two birds with one stone. You can have them go out there and shovel snow and get the physical attributes of it, but then you have the service side of it, where you are helping out your neighbor or anybody who you go and shovel snow for.”

The players were told not to accept money, just help someone out as a good deed, and of course, get a good workout in.

Kennedy DeRuy, McAuley senior basketball player, says, “My dad was like, ‘What are you doing?’ and I was like, ‘This is my basketball practice for today, I gotta get out of here and get my workout in!’ It definitely took some breaths out of me, you’re in a very cold atmosphere, but it’s better than sitting in bed all day and watching movies, that’s for sure”

Howard believes the biggest benefit of this assignment, however, wasn’t just physical.

Howard says, “It makes you feel good inside, and we’ve had positive responses from parents, like, ‘This is the best homework assignment ever!’ It show your heart, your service, and it shows that you’re willing to go out and help people that are in need of that. It only builds characteristics inside of them that they can use for the rest of their life.”

Howard’s strength and conditioning class also took part in the assignment ,bringing the total number of participants to around 30.

McAuley wasn’t the only school to do it, either. The Nevada boys basketball team had that option as a workout, as well.