Basketball Leagues Begin
February Saturday mornings mean basketball at Mission Arlington®. Our volunteer Bible study leaders arrive early to pick up a van, then travel across our community to “knock on doors” in order to transport children from home to a gym in the center of town. The same kids who have difficulty getting up during the week for school are waiting at the door, ready to “play ball.” In February, our basketball leagues are for elementary-aged children. In March, we do the same thing, but with youth.
The coaches and referees are volunteers who are giving their time, energy, and skill-sets to make a difference in the lives of these young people. They arrive at the gym early to get everything ready, then greet the children with big smiles, free donuts, and a brightly-colored, donated shirt for each student to wear on Saturday mornings, and to keep when they go home.
By 10:00 a.m., the gym is filled with laughing, learning children. For the next two hours, they will have so much fun, while learning & practicing the skills of the game. The children work in teams, pass the ball back and forth, and dribble up and down the court. The two hours of exercise is an important by-product of these weekly events.
The students get to practice their shots from up close and from the free-throw line, guided by the positive reinforcement of our volunteer coaches. “Well-done” and “Great shot!” or “You can do it!” are common lines heard throughout the morning. After a while, teams are formed, and the students get to put what they’ve learned into practice through friendly competition.
Our world is reeling these days from the loss of basketball legend Kobe Bryant. Bryant left a legacy for his efforts on and off the basketball court. This award-winning athlete also created an Oscar-winning animated short film titled “Dear Basketball” which illustrates how much the game made a difference in his life. As we play ball with these students in the Spring, perhaps one of them will be loved in these moments of learning and playing the game that they will remember these days as ones which made an impact in their lives. Our heart for these leagues is so more about impacting young lives than it is about the game.
We are grateful for every volunteer Bible study leader, and every coach who came out to make a difference in children. We are ever grateful for this generous, loving community who surrounds us with support and love, so that we can stand in the gap with and for the children of our community.