By Clyde Davis: Local columnist
For the past three years, our life in the winter, post-Christmas, has revolved around lower elementary level basketball, because of my grandson’s aptitude for and interest in this sport. Knowing how hard it is to get people to coach the lower levels, I volunteered when he was in kindergarten.
I never would have predicted that I would, at any time or any place, coach any kind of basketball. Attending college on a partial scholarship for a completely different sport, I even once had a girlfriend who bought me a sweatshirt imprinted “I’d Rather Wrestle and Lose Than Play Basketball” (a slogan which became, in some cases, more prediction than sarcasm).
But such is the irony of life, and of course at some level, coaching theory is coaching theory. The reality is that, working with kids in that age bracket, you have to make drills into games and training into fun. It is also, in my mind, the make or break time of sports life. They will either learn that sports and physical activity are fun, or they will opt for the couch and the TV set.
That leads in to a related focus. I have mentioned this before, in passing,and I am perfectly willing to mention it again and again. Childrens’ athletic activities require money. Period. Even if all coaching, refereeing and support staff were volunteer, the costs of insurance, equipment and so on would require funding.
The cost is prohibitive for some families. If a family has more than one child participating, it may become more of a hardship. What can you do?
You can support the institution with financial help, channeled to scholarship childen who have difficulty with funding. I can’t mention what the institutions are, but in this town, there are only a few kids’ athletic organizations. Pick one.
You can pick out a child or a family of your own acquaintance, and make sure that child gets to participate. If you do not know of one personally, ask your clergy or your elementary principal. Explain to them what your interest is. They can channel you in the right direction.
You can exercise your influence as a citizen. One of my criteria as a voter, in preparing for the approaching election, is to get a sense of where the person stands on channeling money to programs that benefit kids.
Much more than technique can be learned from childrens’ sports: Self-control, discipline, love of activity, teamwork, and how to focus, to name a few.
I don’t personally know how much any given person should donate. I do know that $100 would enable two children to play basketball.
It sounds cliché to say that it may alter some kid’s life. Behind clichés, there is usually a level of truth.
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: