Failing to nurture basketball passion

LETTER

At the end of January I was privileged to have four children participate in the 2017 National Maori Basketball Tournament in Rotorua. Over 150 teams, from U9 through to Masters grade, competed. It was great to be part of something that celebrated Maori culture and showcased basketball.

Now we’re home it is disappointing to know that while we have so many youngsters with a passion for playing basketball, there are few facilities they can access readily and at little or no cost.

Yes, we have some outdoor facilities that have either been vandalised (probably kids with nothing to do) or have no hoops, uneven surfaces or no court markings. We also have indoor facilities that are either locked up or charge horrendous amounts, expecting kids to be able to afford this.

We have fabulous walkways, but how many teenagers use them? Why was it not considered to put a couple of outdoor courts along them so our children (and adults) could indulge in some basketball? Such courts could also host summer 3x3 competitions.

Why do the schools close up for summer and keep their facilities unavailable?

We have wonderful people who volunteer their time to coach and mentor these children, and would be more than willing to supervise.

At this tournament I saw some amazing, young local talent that should be nurtured.

The lack of accessible and suitable facilities also means we cannot host tournaments or invite neighbouring cities to play due to lack of co-operation from venues, their exorbitant prices and the fact we don’t have a venue to cater for more than one game at a time.

Gratitude and acknowledgement must go to Ilminster Intermediate and principal Peter Ferris for his opening of their gym, where possible, but come on other schools, facility providers and the council, what about you?

I would hate to see more local children leave our sunny shores to pursue their NBA dreams at other schools because we can’t provide simple, accessible facilities — some of which already exist in our community — and our council doesn’t even consider this in future planning.

CATHERINE Kepa Baller4Life

At the end of January I was privileged to have four children participate in the 2017 National Maori Basketball Tournament in Rotorua. Over 150 teams, from U9 through to Masters grade, competed. It was great to be part of something that celebrated Maori culture and showcased basketball.

Now we’re home it is disappointing to know that while we have so many youngsters with a passion for playing basketball, there are few facilities they can access readily and at little or no cost.

Yes, we have some outdoor facilities that have either been vandalised (probably kids with nothing to do) or have no hoops, uneven surfaces or no court markings. We also have indoor facilities that are either locked up or charge horrendous amounts, expecting kids to be able to afford this.

We have fabulous walkways, but how many teenagers use them? Why was it not considered to put a couple of outdoor courts along them so our children (and adults) could indulge in some basketball? Such courts could also host summer 3x3 competitions.

Why do the schools close up for summer and keep their facilities unavailable?

We have wonderful people who volunteer their time to coach and mentor these children, and would be more than willing to supervise.

At this tournament I saw some amazing, young local talent that should be nurtured.

The lack of accessible and suitable facilities also means we cannot host tournaments or invite neighbouring cities to play due to lack of co-operation from venues, their exorbitant prices and the fact we don’t have a venue to cater for more than one game at a time.

Gratitude and acknowledgement must go to Ilminster Intermediate and principal Peter Ferris for his opening of their gym, where possible, but come on other schools, facility providers and the council, what about you?

I would hate to see more local children leave our sunny shores to pursue their NBA dreams at other schools because we can’t provide simple, accessible facilities — some of which already exist in our community — and our council doesn’t even consider this in future planning.

CATHERINE Kepa Baller4Life

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Haina - 12 days ago
Totally agree with everything that has been said above by Catherine, it is such a struggle to find a training venue for basketball and Ilminster isn't always available because Mr Ferris allows a range of organisations use of the gym. Thank you Mr Ferris for supporting the basketball community - come on everyone else, help our basketball community out by giving us access to your facilities.

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