By: Dr. Joyce Hopson
The past weekend on March 24-28, 2017, twelve young males were able to go and participate in their 1st Biddy Basketball International Tournament in Slidell, LA. The reason we say that it was an enrichment and a different learning experience because of the culture and the respect that each teams (32) showed on and off the court. With the assistant of Pensacola Sports Association and Commissioner Lumon May, we were able to exchange gifts of Pensacola style of excellent class caliber on the first day of the tournament. Opening ceremony took place on Friday night where all 32 teams were introduced with their uniform, t-shirts, or warm ups from the country Finland, Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia.
We want to thank Mr. Firmin Simms, President and of Biddy Basketball his family for the special invitation.
The mission of the program is one of the same as Southern Youth Sports Association (SYSA), by providing the best tool in developing leaders in the sports of basketball while helping them to gain knowledge, skills, and competencies in basketball that translates in learning the importance of teamwork and other social skills to be successful in life. SYSA mission is to respond to the academic, social and physical needs of each youth through the appropriate involvement of the community, students, and staff. SYSA is committed to the development of the full potential of each child.
The players and their school, that represented the Pensacola community were as follows: Deontrez McLamb (Bellview); Jonah Carter & Damon Peoples (Brown Barge); Lumon May, Jr. (Jubilee Academy); Randall Bumo (Ransom); Michael Rowell (S L Jones); Dacorney Shine (Warrington); Ozell Purifoy (Woodham); and Bryant Fields, Jr., Cortez Hayes, Jaleel Houston, and De’Adriaen Montgomery (Workman). ((L-R) C. Hayes, M. Rowell, J. Houston, L. May, Jr., J. Carter, B. Fields, Jr., D. Mongtomery, O. Purifoy, D. Shine, D. Peoples, D. McLamb, R. Bumo; Coach: Ray Palmer, Lumon May, Sr., G. Simms, & Javier Smith and Ricky Milner (not pictured)). Supports from parents, students, & sponsors-Tammie May, Gail Carter, Damon & Monica Peoples, Cody & Cindy Chandlers, Joyce Hopson, Amoni May (West Florida), Javier Smith (Escambia), Jim & Shirley Cronley, Troy Rafferty, Robert Hill, Monica Palmer, Kevin Mair, and Eladies Sampson.
Just listening to conversations of different teams, it all came down to what our youth wrote “What This Trip Meant To Me”:
They cited education-completing homework assignments on the desktop, laptop or chrome book,
adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing integers with positive and negative signs.
They Thanked the teachers for sending their assignments and letting them work while their classmates were working on the same assignments (reading & talking to understand the steps in solving the problem).
Teamwork, playing hard and having fun,Respect,
Made me a better player, and being responsible of my personal belonging;
Leadership-which is the same concept that SYSA program pushes everyday on and off the court;
Bible, Books, Ball & Balance;
Learning correct table etiquette in some of the top restaurant, and a better swimmer.
The experience was the first time away from home, and sharing a room and taking turns on who will be next taking a shower;
Listening to a different language on and off the court (Finnish) beside English.
Also, seeing how hard our coaches, parents and the community care for us by buying new uniforms, traveling bags, socks, sponsoring transportation being on the radio
Last but not least, networking and lifetime friendship because at the end, the college & NBA players all shared some of the same (James, Curry, Markkarien, Koponen, Durant, Garnett, Westbrook, Paul, Davis, George, etc.).
We try to teach our young boys and girls that Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation. Knowledge is Power!
One of the gifts were a towel that read,“Keep Moving” & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. couldn’t have said it any better, “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”