by Brenda Bolds
EAST SIDE COMMUNITY IS NOT BEST KNOWN FOR HAVING ELITE SPORTS TEAMS, BUT OUR TEAMS ARE MORE THAN JUST SKILL. OUR WINS ARE ABOUT COMMUNITY, GROWTH, COMMITMENT, AND PASSION. WE INTERVIEWED MANY BASKETBALL PLAYERS TO ASK THEM HOW THEY FELT ON THEIR TEAMS, AND EVIDENCE OF OUR OWN TO FIND OUT HOW STUDENT ATHLETES TRULY FEEL WHILE IN THEIR ELEMENT.
THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED OUT CLASSMATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
HOW IS YOUR TEAM DIVERSE
WHAT DRILLS AND THINGS DO YOU DO AT PRACTICE
WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION
How Is Your Team Diverse?
AMIR LAWRENCE - “Yeah it is diverse because there are many different types of people. We all have individual personalities that connect in some way and make us work better as a team. AZIKIWE CUFFY SCOTT: “Yeah we have different races with all different personalities…we all talk about basketball…” BELLA RIVERA– “Yes the team is diverse. Multiple races and we are all different. Everyone has different thinking processes and sometimes works together on the court. REINA BOLDS- “I don’t think it is very diverse because there are no white people. I feel like when we’re on the court we all play a part but we all think differently. We all have our tough parts, weak parts, soft parts, and strong parts of the team.”
What Drills And Things Do You Do At Practice?
AMIR LAWRENCE- “We stretch, pushups, jumping jacks, and running and defensive sliding. Kyle runs the stretches and he makes sure everyone is doing good.” AZIKIWE CUFFY SCOTT- “Plays, conditions, running, team warm-ups, partner workouts and we trust each other and all hangout after school…” JAYLEEN ROSARIO- “ We do dribbling, handles, playmaking, layup lines, and scrimmages.” REINA BOLDS- “ I feel like when we’re on the court we all play a part but we all think differently.”
What Is Your Motivation?
AARON COLLAZO- “I love it and it’s fun. I feel like it’s like a brotherhood and even though you’re in school with your teammates. We have each other's backs on and off the court.” AMIR LAWRENCE- “It’s something that I want to pursue and see how far I can go. I practice everyday to see if I can go to college or the NBA. I also want to do something that I can be proud of and look back at with pride. I am motivated to see myself inprove.” BELLA RIVERA- “My friends and family are my motivation, and I am motivated to play basketball because it makes me happy, I enjoy it and I am very competitive.” JAYLEEN ROSARIO- “ Sometimes I have nothing to do so I play basketball because it is fun. I feel good when I play. It's good because I connect with it multiple ways and it makes me happy and makes me feel good about myself.”
As you can see, East Side basketball captures what everyone needs in an after-school activity. Students on these teams feel a sense of community, motivation, diversity, and challenge when playing basketball.
They feel that their teams are more than just a thing, but a place; a place where they can let loose and forget about problems they face in their everyday lives. There are some differences between how the girl's team and the boy's teams are run.
We hear from many of the boys they feel like they are part of a brotherhood. That when they are on and off the court, they know that their teammates have their backs. They have a built-in trust with each other that allows them to work well together and be a true group of “brothers”. This is one of the biggest differences I noticed during the interviews. The boys talk about their team with pride and even love for one another, while the girls don’t seem to have that strong of a connection with each other. The girls do trust each other and have a strong foundation on the court but they don’t carry that same energy .
The most similar thing compared to the boys in the girls' interviews was how basketball makes them happy and allows them to have some fun. These things are important when it comes to sports, but having a sense of family and trust is also a big plus to have on teams.
The biggest takeaway from conducting these interviews for the East Sider was to see the way that people talked about basketball with so much hope, love, and passion. As a person who also values the sport, it was great to see how so many of my peers also benefit from playing on their sports teams and how it's more than just about basketball. It's about family, pride, brotherhood, happiness, improvement, an outlet, and most of all, fun!