Monday, June 19, 2017

What is the Jr. #NBA Way?


Featured Link: jr.nba.com @jrNBA 
#e1plinks #every1plays
What is the Jr. #NBA Way?


Our latest featured link will direct visitors to the jr.nba.com.  What is the Jr. NBA?  The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA.  I’ve been visiting this website since last year checking out its resources on Twitter…at times retweeting inspiring quotes and watching NBA coaches talk about the core values of the Jr. NBA.

Everything about our love for basketball revolved around the NBA as kids.  Back when kids wasted allowance money collecting basketball trading cards, I probably knew the full names and statistics of basketball rosters by memory better then I knew the names and details of some of my own extended family members…and we’re talking about the megabyte sized memory of a 10 year old kid. To a child, the NBA has an overwhelming influence on how kids view future goals (“when I grow up I want to play for the NBA!!!”) and how kids socialize and connect with the greater community.  Whether you were playing with a summer league that referred to themselves by an NBA team name like the Lakers or Magic or were outside as a kid trying to debate who you thought was the best NBA basketball player in the world…for kids who love basketball, the NBA captivated our imagination while we were awake and wandered into our dreams while we slept.

As the 20th century came to a close (1990s) technology took the game beyond just a picture and a few stats on a trading card. Technology brought children closer to hoop through video games, increased broadcasts on TV, and news channels like ESPN or NBA Inside Stuff. Even magazines began to blend ink with the emerging Hip Hop culture that played the soundtrack to our adolescent years…it inspired the style on our feet creating a sneaker con$umer culture…inspired how we wore hats and the kinds of $tarter jackets we wished for during winter…til’ this day kids year round are walking adverti$ements for the NBA…short$, sock$, jersey$, bed sheet$, towel$…you name it the NBA sell$ it.

As we thought about the mission of #every1plays at the beginning and the kind of values we wanted to promote to kids and parents, the goal was to think about an approach that went beyond the superficial stuff. An approach I wanted to articulate in writing and document. My hope was to create a mission that would describe the core values of a team with greater purpose than simply winning or reducing one’s hoop dream to the wishful thinking that we could coach kids towards becoming a future lottery pick.  I thought about the teachable moments that exist in basketball that often get lost in the translation of competitive sports culture.  A culture funded by the bottom dollar politics of an entertainment mill that divests from children and community. The kind of culture that creates microcosms in communities where families simply can’t afford to get their kids involved in organized competitive sports or the “only the best” mentality of school sports.  And while we may see a glimpse of the NBA’s connection to community after a commercial about car insurance, a KIA, alcohol, or McDonalds…whether or not anything real exists for the future gets lost in the commercialized hype of being sold something.

Discovering the depth of the Jr. NBA and their philosophy and core character values helped me reflect on #every1plays…to encourage us to read on I decided to highlight this resource as a featured link. The site presents values that stress coaching as teaching and mentions what development can mean when we focus on a more positive, encouraging, and fun approach to what we do.  Values that explore what hard work means as it relates to positive outcomes that may go beyond the court and extend to life at home, school and in the community. Values that help us understand and reflect on what respect can mean, especially for adults who are in a position to facilitate these conversations with kids.  The site also notes how we think about the concept of fairness, not as a means to stifle competition, but in how we recognize and respond to a child’s skill set and how we support, encourage and challenge children to be resilient and if necessary help redefine their understanding of failure.  Most importantly, and I’ll quote directly from the site, I respect their emphasis on healthy living…“exercising regularly benefits both mind and body – leading to better health outcomes, greater energy levels, and enhanced classroom performance.”

As we continue to imagine #every1plays in the context of a more organized initiative, I look forward to referencing the Jr. NBA’s site for information.  We’re still understanding what this concept of #every1plays can be about in our own community.  Please do check out the Jr. NBA at jr.nba.com and follow on Twitter @jrNBA and Like at Facebook.com/jrNBA.



#CoachLee

#HoopDreams 1st Half 2017


School is out and the summer is here!

Its been an eventful 1st half to 2017…everything from the name change of our #USAB squad…the start of the year with the #3v3 #every1plays Winter League…new #HoopDreams jerseys…our first attempt at sponsorship…new players on the roster…opportunities & new responsibilities on and off the court for the coaches…involvement from parents who helped us find new spaces to practice…the ups and downs of losing, getting better, winning, and losing again in the city league…and all the ideas we have to merge basketball & education for youth in the city and inform ourselves & others about resources that are out there.

There’s a lot to be grateful for…a lot to plan in the future and much more to document when time allows.  We’re most grateful this year for all the young people on the squad that showed up to play til’ the end.  As we get ready to transition into the summer months, we look forward for those moments when we can reflect again and share our thoughts.  We look forward to continuing to brainstorm and contribute ideas for how to open up more opportunities for kids to play and learn from not only the game of hoop, but the values of the game and other life lessons.

We wish everyone a wonderful summer…make it one worth reflecting back on when the Fall arrives!

#CoachLee

#WAB 2015

A note from the every1plays.org web Archive going back to March 3, 2015.


It’s going down, Andress vs. Bel Air … Many of the #WAB seniors grew up together playing ball in the Sun City… In middle school they all would compete against each other… from H.E. Charles, Basset, Terrace Hills to the champions at Nolan Richardson Middle. I got photographs of them all during this time. Win or lose, this will be their LAST game together as #WAB in El Paso … If they get the W it’s on to Snyder and the sweet sixteen this weekend.  As a family we’ll be turning the page on close to two decades at Andress High School, class of 99′, 08′, and 15′ for our youngest brother, Isaiah.

Much respect to everyone out on that court tonight from the players to coaches for bringing this to the city.  What’s even greater is the stories that will follow from such a talented group, on both the Andress and Bel Air side.

We’ll continue to share photographs, videos, and other clips that we’ve captured over the years here at the every1plays.org website.  It’s also time to check for the ones coming up.  From JV all the way down to the youth leagues throughout the city both boys and girls.  Til’ the next great game, thank you to the #WAB seniors for the memorable moments in b-ball out here.  We’ll be talking about y’all for years to come.

All best to the Andress & Bel Air.  Time to go.

Friday, April 14, 2017

#AustinsArmy


In Memory of Austin Sean Williams
#AustinsArmy

This post is dedicated to the memory of Austin Sean Williams. Below are words our friend Phil Campbell shared with us about Baby A. Since 2016 Phil would often share stories about his moments with his nephew.  Its how we got to know Austin before and after his bout with cancer.  Just a year young, Austin was able to fight and beat cancer before passing away in 2017.

With these words we remember Baby A and send our thoughts to his family, friends, and the community that came to be known as #AustinsArmy.

“The outpouring of love for Austin is beyond words. For a being who was here such an infinitesimally short time to have brought so many together in Love is a miraculous lesson. A lesson that calls us to remain faithful and strong, holding onto, and allowing ourselves to be transformed by the love Austin Sean Williams/McGehee awoke in each and every one of our hearts.” – Uncle Pidi


Sunday, March 5, 2017

#ThurmanGarcia


In the early 90s my Dad and I use to watch Tuesday Night Fights on the USA Network. I became a fan of boxing with my Dad watching fighters we had access to see on basic cable television; fighters I’ve referenced before like Oba Carr, Pernell Whitaker, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Jr., Riddick Bowe, Johnny Tapia, etc. I had no chance catching a pay-per-view bout as a kid and at the time HBO/Showtime access was limited to preview weekends or friends with cable scramblers that unlocked premium channels. I lost track of boxing when I got to college mostly hearing about big pay-per-view fights and on occasion watching a good fight on ESPN.  When I finished school, I started checking for sports again and about a year later stumbled across ESPN2’s broadcast of a 9-0 Keith Thurman, Jr. #ThurmanHartman. This was two months after Thurman’s trainer Ben Getty passed away. It was the beginning of Thurman’s journey without his trainer and a prelude to one of the biggest fights in boxing history. Tonight’s fight is as big as it gets for households that have a chance to continue tuning into boxing as they would other professional sporting events like basketball, football, or baseball.  As a fan of Thurman, I always reflect back to my introduction to him  in 09′ and how that built my interest to want to know who was fighting and when.

We look forward to this matchup and the excitement it brings to the sport of boxing. A lot has changed since the basic cable days of the 90s so this is a night to appreciate as Keith Thurman, Jr. and Danny Garcia prepare to tune millions of viewers into their story.


Time for fight night.

-Lee

Lucero Rodriguez Round 1

YouTube: click here

This poem is dedicated to Lucero Rodriguez.

We worked in the same office for a few months.  Because of Lucero, I went to my first boxing match.  At this point she was already a Golden Gloves champion.  When she started working with us, my bosses, Lucero, and other co-workers would talk about boxing all the time.  I learned about boxers from the older adults who would start reminiscing.  Names I'd never heard of like Jose Mantequilla Napoles  I enjoyed these conversations since I've always loved boxing and was a big fan since childhood of boxers like Roberto Duran, Roy Jones, Jr. Oba Carr, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Johnny Tapia, etc.  Even when it came to video games like Nintendo's Mike Tyson's Punchout or Sega's Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing.  I became so interested in boxing as a kid that I agreed to join my Dad to train with boxers at the Northeast Tobin's gym where I played basketball.  It was a small box of a room.  I got no where near the real training boxers had to endure, and already it proved too difficult for my skinny, long, and weak frame.

Lucero spoke often about her love for the sport and a fight she had coming up when she worked with us.  I even got the chance to go to Carolina gym with my boss to see her spar and to meet some of the other young people she trained with.  Lucero was adamant about us going to support her fights.  Every day, "you better go to my fight!"  So I promised to go.  Since I like taking pictures, I thought it would be great opportunity to document my first fight and our champ at the office.  It was exciting to know we were rooting for her not just cause she's from El Paso, but because she was a part of our family at work.  Ever since going to Lucero's fight, I'd go on to support other boxers as well such as Jennifer & Abie Han, Antonio Escalante, David Rodriguez, Austin Trout, and other up and coming fighters.

We lost Lucero Rodriguez in January to an act of violence far from her El Paso home.  Though I hadn't spoke to Lucero in a while, I'd see her from time to time at a couple of boxing events.  One day I also saw her passenger side, window down, of the big suburban that her family drove.  It would be parked sometimes outside of our building when it was time for her to go to school or the gym.

I've thought of Lucero and her family often these past weeks.  Though I've read messages of peace for her rest, these words are intended to represent for life she shared with us during her bit of time at the office.  Til' the next round.

Round 1

Child of the sun city

in our Earth, visible, smiling

with a youthful kindness

bright and shining that day

for a young girl

in a professional world of office employees

you made it cause you could make it anywhere

especially here

the 1st one

everyone saw in the morning

with an illuminating hi

waving as people walked by

to clock in like bells to begin their round

you were alive & awake

far too young to be boxed into work

that forgets how to view life

through youth like you

unafraid of a job description you fit you

an unorthodox style that split time in the ring

at school and with us

Our boss introduced you as a Champion

LUCERO RODRIGUEZ

with a mean left

yet so nice you laughed it off

shaking our hands with gloveless love.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#HoopDreams 2017 #every1plays

#HoopDreams 2017 #every1plays @every1plays @RXNAthleticsEP #USAB #RBros every1plays.org


Our 2017 banquet event for the children and families of every1plays has been something we’ve been planning for over a year. On February 2, 2017 every1plays hosted a banquet for parents and children of Team USA to announce the new team name, logo, and to give children their new jerseys for city league play.  We also invited participants and their families that have been attending practices. We all enjoyed a lot of food thanks to the coaches and parents to prepare for the announcement.

For over a year, we discussed plans to change the team name. The Team USA name goes back to when some of the children first started playing organized basketball more than five years ago. Team USA also goes back to the first years of Joshy’s coaching experience. The team USA club was started by a group of coaches at Album Park’s city league when current players Ethan & Adrian started hooping.


Team USA 2012

About a year ago, RBros got together to watch the 90s classic film Above the Rim to share some ideas on changing the team name. That night I asked Coach Joshy, “so what do you think? What do you want to call the team?”  I was also prepared to share my suggestions which I’ve since forgotten because of how cool Joshy’s suggestion was. As we watched Kyle Watson and Shep dismantle Birdie & Motaw’s shootout team in the movie, Coach Joshy shook his head, smiled and said…”Hoop Dreams…”. I replied, “wow, that’s it, say no more!”


Back in 2008, I took a picture of my brother as we made our way out from the NBA preseason game at the Don Haskins Center. On my FB page I remember titling this shot, “Hoop Dreams” inspired by the Ben Joravsky book turned into a documentary by the same name in the 90s.

Afterwards I reached out to graphic design artist Luis Flores for his assistance on a logo inspired by the shootout uniforms from Above the Rim. After a few emails back and forth Luis sent the final proof and we had the new team logo design ready to go. It would take several months until I’d figure out how we were going to print up the jerseys. From the get go I wanted to make sure that we could provide each participant of every1plays with a free jersey.  Especially for those that had already paid for a Team USAB jersey.  I met with a few folks in town about how to print up the jerseys in a way that resembled the All Star Rookie jerseys that I saw back in February. They had a cold fade leading down into the shorts that I was hoping we could create for the every1plays kids. As time went by, the process seemed a lot more complicated and costly than I imagined.

Fast forward a few months after one of the Scotsdale Cadet city league games and Coach Joshy, Coach Isaiah, myself, and the two Ethans took a ride down to La Estrella Screen Printing and Embroidery on Zaragoza. With the logo on a thumb drive we found out that it would be much cheaper to print t-shirts instead of jerseys. We decided on two colors, black (away color) and beige (home color). With a quote on the cost, it was time to find a sponsor.

Coach Isaiah started going to Reaction Physical Therapy to address some hip tightness and flexibility issues he experienced competing in karate tournaments during middle and high school. A couple of years later he started sessions next door with RXN Athletics training for basketball. Over time we also noticed a few of our participants for every1plays putting in some work at RXN Athletics.  RXN Athletics is a sports performance training center in El Paso who’s slogan is “applying science to your game”. Their philosophy on their website states, “we approach training from the viewpoint that our methodologies and equipment used are either biomechanically sound or the published research supports it and that it is applicable to not just the sport, but also to the individual athlete. Each athlete deserves a qualified professional that can get them to their goals. At RXN Athletics each athlete is coached to ensure that the training is performed correctly and that safety is maximized. All of our coaches hold degrees in the field and professional certifications.”

Because of our history at RXN Athletics, Reaction Therapy, and their connection to some of our kids, it made perfect sense to approach them for sponsorship support. We’re excited to be able to hit the court with their logo branded on the back of our jerseys.

Hoop Dreams t-shirt jerseys (black & beige), logo & sponsorship RXN Athletics

We were able to prepare the jerseys in time for the new year 2017 thanks to La Estrella who also provided assistance on the appearance of the logo and design.  On February 2, 2017, we provided participants with their own Hoop Dreams jersey in both black and beige and shared thoughts on the upcoming city league and future goals for every1plays. Coach Joshy also gave each player resume letters in recognition of their participation and to inspire goals for future hoop whether its with us or other city and school teams.


Coach Lee, Coach Isaiah, Coach Joshy, and the squad, plus Lil’ Lucy the First Lady of every1plays

February 2, 2017 was a memorable evening, and like any other day it seems to have passed us as quickly as it arrived. This is to document that moment as we continue to think about ways to provide more opportunities for more children to have access to places in the community where they can learn about the game of basketball and play.  And this goes out to all children, boys and girls regardless of ability or skill. At the end of the day every1plays is about helping parents find those opportunities for their children and doing so in the most cost effective way possible.

Special thanks to everyone mentioned in this write up. We’re hopeful for future ideas and simply the joy children experience playing hoop as they continue to dream about their next standout game, making the school team, playing beyond graduation, and who knows maybe even having the chance to give back to their communities as coaches or professionals of the game.

Also to Javier, thank you for everything.  This wouldn't be possible without you.

Lecroy Rhyanes, Jr.
aka Coach Lee

Every1Plays is a volunteer organization born in Northeast El Paso Texas to promote basketball activity for children ages 8 to 11. Our mission is to introduce children and parents to the game of basketball through a positive coaching approach that is focused on development, education, and the core values of every1plays. The 5 core values include practicing TOGETHER, letting the children PLAY, making sure we’re all LEARNING something, WORKing to the best of our abilities, and respecting each other through the value of FRIENDSHIP. For more information on our group please visit us on social media at Facebook.com/e1p44 and Twitter.com/every1plays. This is also home for our children’s youth league which competes in city league tournaments throughout El Paso County. Our social media includes updates from the coaches and activities that the squad is engaged in! For more information you can reach us at every1plays@gmail.com