Kyle’s done with Basketball. He had his award ceremony over the weekend. He was looking forward to the party, as were most of the kids, of course. Mostly, though, he wanted cake. 🙂
Kyle’s done extremely well. One coach told us a week ago he’s made so much progress, partly because one older player, Joey, has taken him under his wing, and partly because Kyle now knows the drill–literally! He knows what the routine is, and what to do, when. That’s important for Kyle. He needs to know what’s expected of him.
Here’s the “drill”: They start with a warm-up, in which they practice dribbling, and then they practice shooting baskets (Kyle uses a shorter practice goal, as he’s too small for the regular basketball goals). Then, all the kids split up, and half of them go on each side of the court. Then these two teams are split again, according to ability. Then the proper drills start. Players take turns dribbling the ball across the court. Then they spend the rest of the remaining time playing basketball games. The players take frequent breaks, so that they have these mini quarters.
Today, after a quick warm-up and stretch, they separated into their usual teams, and proceeded to have a proper game, with scoring on the lighted score board. The kids were excited about that! Especially with the timer going off when each quarter was finished. They would count down from the last ten seconds (Kyle covered his ears, as he doesn’t like loud sounds).
It was quite an exciting game. Some of the players were running full-tilt, doing layups and rebound shots (see? I’m learning the lingo). Kyle made a goal on the first try. The final score was, I believe, 40-39. I was very proud. Especially as this was his first-ever proper, scored game. Most of the teams he’s been on are more relaxed about some of the rules. As long as they’re learning the basic skills, some of the teams for kids with disabilities don’t worry about keeping score.
The basketball program is run by the Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department. In 1999, Parks Director Mike Buckman and his wife wanted to find a basketball league for their son Ricky, so that he could learn to play. There wasn’t one, so they started one. They had helped Jim Scheuerman start his Clearwater Little League Challenger League, so Jim helped them start the basketball league.
Today, the program boasts 34 members, and Rick still coaches. At the ceremony, they boasted about a volunteer coach who has been involved with the program from the start, since she was in high school. She has since gone to college and law school, and now has a job with the state, or something like that. Now that’s dedication.
The players are also very dedicated. Many were talking excitedly about playing next year, and about all of the other activities they’re involved with. Some of them started playing basketball back in 1999, and are still playing.
There is no specific age range for eligibility into the program. “It’s an ability sort of thing,” Buckman said.
If anyone is interested in getting their child involved in this program, they can contact the J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex at (727) 934-4198.