Upward Basketball gears up for fifth season
In an era in sports when trash talking, win-at-all-cost mentalities and fights on the field seem to be the norm, it’s no wonder that, according to the National Alliance for Sports, 70 percent of children playing organized sports will quit by age 13 and never play again. Heights kids and families seeking a positive sports experience can participate in an unconventional youth basketball league that teaches that the process of competition is just as important as the outcome.
Since 2009, the Church of the Saviour (CotS), at 2537 Lee Road, has hosted a basketball league through Upward Sports, the world’s largest Christian sports league for children, which has coached and mentored more than 500 Heights kids.
“Kids seem to really grow—both as athletes and friends—in an environment that focuses on skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity, while having fun,” said Tammy Owings, coach commissioner of the Upward Basketball League at Church of the Saviour.
“It’s been exciting seeing families from several neighborhoods come together for the first time," said Owings. "One basketball team can often represent more than five schools. This basketball program is building friendships and community.”
Focusing on healthy competition and positive sports environments that build self-confidence, Upward Sports equips churches with everything needed to run a competitive, but fun, 10-week sports program for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
To avoid player and parent burn out, the CotS Upward Basketball program limits time commitments to one practice and one game (one-hour long) per week. Other distinctive aspects of Upward Basketball leagues include:
- Unique substitution system designed to provide every child equal playing time, competing against an equally matched opponent;
- Competitive games with strict adherence to a proprietary drafting system that balances talent on each team;
- Supportive coaches who bring out “the winner” in every child, regardless of the game’s score.
Mandatory skill evaluations will take place on Nov. 11 and 12, 6–8 p.m., and Nov. 16, 10 a.m. to noon. You do not need an appointment, just go to the church's Great Hall and sign in.
Practices begin the week of Jan. 6. Games begin Jan. 18 and run through March 8. Games are played between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. All practices and games take place in the Great Hall.
For information or to register for the league, visit www.chsaviour.org or call 216-321-8880, ext. 257. For more information about Upward Sports, visit www.upward.org.
Early registration ($90 per child) is open through Oct. 31; regular registration ($100 per child) closes on Nov. 16. Active duty military families receive a discount. Scholarships are available; contact the church office for details.
Lauren Lanphear, owner of the Forest City Tree Protection Co., is the league director for the CotS Upward Basketball program.