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Vol. 17 No. 36 - June 21, 2017


The sounds of the hard court return to The Center

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

monica simpson | SUN

Above, Volunteer Coach Tom Baugher begins last
Wednesday's basketball clinic.

Last Wednesday saw the long awaited return of youth basketball to the Island's community center. After close to two years without a kid's basketball league to fill the gym with sounds of the ball hitting the court, fans cheering in the bleachers, coaches encouraging the players and the island area children supporting their teammates, nearly 50 ballers hit the court.

The summer youth sports program includes organized pick-up games in indoor soccer, baseball and basketball. For the hard court players, coach Tom Baugher volunteered to work with the kids using his high school basketball experience. His love of the sports and the kids shows as he worked with the boys and girls.

As a special treat, coach Ray Gardner returned to the community center working once again with the Island kids. Coaching, motivating and developing children are some of Gardner's biggest passions. As a former collegiate basketball player, Gardner has a wealth of knowledge to share. Using the relationship he has already built with so many of the children, Gardner brought life to the gym once again.

Gardner and Baugher took to the court with players ranging in age between five and 11 years of age. The sound of 40 basketballs being dribbled, 80 little feet shuffling across the court during footwork drills, and the sound of the kids having fun reminded us why basketball was always so popular at the community center.

Nearly 20 teens hit the court with Gardner in the second session. Teaching discipline and listening skills, as well as basketball skills, were his goals in the first session. Working all type of dribbling, layups, and jump shots, Gardner soon broke them up into two teams, putting to use the drills of the evening.

Ending the night with sprints and a homework assignment, the teens walked away with improved basketball skills and an introduction to the fact that sports is more than the physical ability of the player. Giving of yourself and showing gratitude with hugs and "I love you" was a message shared by Gardner and part of the week's homework assignment.

Fun in the summer, improving athletic skill and keeping the young bodies moving are all part of the summer sports program at The Center.

Sun Scoreboard

Thursday, June 15

Adult Co-Ed Soccer

#2 Slim's Place 5
#6 Ross Built Construction 2

#3 Acqua Aveda 3
#4 Anna Maria CrossFit 2

#1 Sato Real Estate 3
#5 Lancaster Design 1

#7 Mulock Flynn Law 4
#8 Moss Builders 4

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AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper