Learning through Basketball

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Basketball can be used as a metaphor for real life. It can also be used to teach kids about real life.

Forty Selma children participate in the Selma PAL Summer Youth Enrichment Program. Several, such as Dexter Hatcher, Cortland Herring and Jonathan Pettway, are drawn in through basketball, but learn to survive in life.

Most of them do not acknowledge the latter reason.

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“I came up here when I was eight-years-old, and come here every year just to help out,” said Herring. I’m here to shoot ball and practice my skills.

Though Herring and others participate for basketball, they learn more than they realize.

“Basketball is used as a tool to lift these kids to a higher education,” said Derriet “D-Moe” Moore, a PAL Center regular. “It takes discipline to play basketball and to get an education.”

Participants arrive at 10 a.m. and begin each day with a prevention program. Following lunch, they participate in an educational program. Both programs are part of a series called “team talk.”

“Team talk is about teaching abstinence and living clean,” said Moore. “A lot of times kids don’t realize the consequences of doing things until the consequences come.”

The kids’ focus — three hours of recreational/basketball time — begins at 2 p.m. the basketball players practice for the Maxeyball three-on-three tournament. These players aren’t to be confused with the PAL team that recently placed second at the National PAL basketball championships in Hampton, Virginia.

However, that team’s success has brought more interest to the PAL Center.

“Within the last week we’ve had more kids interested in basketball than usual,” said Detective Dorothy Cowan. “That’s going to be a big plus for us.”