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Basketball club gets Rockland Woods kids on the court

April 01, 2010|By MARLO BARNHART
  • Tina Morgan started the non-competitive Rockland Woods Basketball Club where children from kindergarten through fifth grade can enjoy the game.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer,

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Rockland Woods Elementary School Principal Kathy Stiles said she feels gratified that parents and volunteers have stepped up to the plate in the facility's first two years.

In the case of Tina Morgan, she stepped up to the hoop -- the basketball hoop.

Two years ago, Morgan organized a basketball club at the school for students from kindergarten to fifth grade -- a club that now boasts more than 100 children, according to Stiles.

Morgan has little to no background in the sport, but what she does have is the drive to be of service, especially where kids are involved.

"This is my first big jump ... ever," Morgan said. She and her husband, Lance, are the parents of a son, Bryce, 11, and a daughter, Kiley, 8.

When she embarked on her quest to create a basketball club, Morgan was determined that the goal would be fun and fitness, not competition.

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"That is very hard to find these days," she said. "We don't even keep score."

After meeting with Stiles two years ago, Morgan recruited other parents to volunteer their time after school and on Saturdays as coaches. Now, the practices and games are only on Saturdays.

"Tina has been exceptional," Stiles said. "The kids and the parents love it."

Both women said the kindergarteners have really taken to the basketball club, mainly because most organized sports for children won't take them that young.

"My first year, there was one girl who had never touched a ball before," Morgan said.

With practice, they got her dribbling the ball and playing the game.

In addition to the games, Morgan also organizes concessions at each game. Half of the money earned through those sales went for T-shirts, trophies and a fee for the club to use the school gym. The PTO at the school receives the other half of that money each season.

Stiles, who is very interested in the problem of childhood obesity, said the club is not only fun for the kids, it gets them active so they don't spend so much time sitting around.

For Morgan, the reward is more emotional.

"To see their faces is everything," she said.

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