The most surprising thing about the Sand Point Select Basketball Team is not the way the group dominated its U-11 league, despite none of the kids having played organized ball before. OK, they did post a record of 8-0 (and at one point they had never trailed for even a second of any game)! But as cool as those results are, the more important thing was the way this group, all kids from families who had experienced homelessness before moving to Sand Point Housing, really came together as a team.
“Our kids truly are learning,” volunteer Coach William said. “I’m witnessing much more respect, fair play, and teamwork from when we began this past October. Minor victories are evidenced essentially during every practice.”
When asked what they like about being on the team, one player said: “We’re learning about character – how winning isn’t the most important thing.” Another added, “I like working together – by passing and letting other people shoot.”
The team plays fast-paced offense and a swarming defense. “I emphasize – well, demand! – passing the ball over excessive dribbling; team-play over the individual,” said Coach.
“We’re learning about character – how winning isn’t the most important thing.”
The kids are obviously having fun. “We love our coach!” exclaimed one after a recent team meeting. “I like the hard work and drills that combine hard work and fun. Coach is the best; I like the way we play!”
As a group, the young players are remarkably supportive of each other and the process of learning how to be a team. As the league playoffs approach, our hoopsters eagerly anticipate continuing to learn together and applying the lessons learned on the court elsewhere in their lives.
“From Coach I learned don’t be disrespecting other people,” said one player. “Listening and being a good teammate!” reminded another.
Last year Coach William supported a team of high school players. He switched to the younger group in an effort to reach kids at a more impressionable age and to develop a deeper program with the youngsters at Sand Point Housing.
“I like taking a group of kids who for the most part have not played in organized basketball and watching them develop into the awesome surprisingly cohesive unit,” said Coach. “Hopefully, we can use the momentum of this successful current season as impetus for not only increased youth involvement, but also increased Solid Ground support. The kids really are loving it!