This past spring, I had the privilege of serving on a team of volunteers tasked to reintroduce "Bruins Basketball". Bruins Community Basketball represents a history of connecting with kids in underserved situations in Northern Millwoods and providing them the refuge and stability that team sports and a positive environment can have in a young persons’ life.
Whether life post- Bruins meant going onto college or exploring another life path, you’ll be hard pressed to find a former player that didn’t appreciate what Bruins Basketball meant to them during their time dawning the gold and black. It’s this legacy of community and brotherhood that we wanted to bring to a new crop of Junior High athletes, following its two-year hiatus.
To be honest, this season was a grind on both our coaches and players alike. Having to constantly instill and re-iterate ideas and life skills such as: accountability, positive communication and good work habits. Pretty much every practice consisted of messaging (and re-messaging) our practice time and location, which seldom changed after the first two weeks. Followed by urging them to go through each drill hard, breaking up fights, telling them not to curse each other out (even if their teammate is in the wrong) all while trying to teach them some basketball basics. Also, someone was always late, and usually multiple someones.
As the season progressed and we grew as a unit on the court there were some setbacks off the court. Some players could not finish the season with us, and one of our captains was even suspended from playing in our first playoff game after he was caught stealing. Resulting in a tough loss with a depleted roster. Despite all this, I believe that our biggest win was beyond the sport. Twelve underserved young men got to experience positive adult support as sourced through Christ’s love in a tangible way that hopefully leaves a lasting impression on their lives. Through Bruins, solid relationships were established and established relationships were strengthened.
What God’s doing through that little basketball team is exciting. We already have all 12 of those guys more than interested in coming to our Shiloh Basketball Camps this summer, a new experience for many of them, coming from Muslim homes.
Within Millbourne, basketball can attract (a lot), but only the Holy Spirit can sustain. Please keep us and our kids in your prayers.