For folks in the northern half of Washington County, Boone Hoops has become an institution over the last 30 years.
Not only has the youth basketball league served as a feeder program for the county’s middle schools as well as Daniel Boone High School, it has introduced generations of youngsters to the game of basketball. Karen Jenkins has put two of her boys – Jacob and Luke – through the program, and her youngest son is currently playing.
“It’s so much more than just basketball,” Jenkins said of Boone Hoops. “It’s about learning to win as well as learning how to lose. It’s about learning how to cheer on your team when you’re on the bench. There are just so many more life lessons than just how to dribble and shoot.”But this past fall, Jenkins and her husband were shocked to hear the board of directors planned to end the Boone Hoops program following this past season.
“We had no idea that there was even a thought of ending it,” Jenkins said.
There has been a decline in participation in recent years as more families opt to participate in travel basketball. Also, Sulpher Springs and Fall Branch were the only two elementary schools available to host games this season.
But Jenkins believes the demise of Boone Hoops will leave a void in the community that will eventually affect the quality of play at the high school level.
“Take this year’s Boone girls team that did so well,” Jenkins said of the Lady Trailblazers, who advanced to the Class AAA state tournament for the first time in school history. “I know for a fact several of them played Boone Hoops growing up, and that’s where they first learned about basketball and where they first learned to love basketball. Although many of them have gone on to play on travel teams, Boone Hoops is kind of where it all started.”So Jenkins is now on a mission to ensure the continuation of youth basketball in the northern half of Washington County. Once she found out the board was planning to dissolve the league, Jenkins spent last season learning the ins and outs of how to run a youth basketball league from the Boone Hoops board of directors.
With that in mind, Jenkins is in the process of organizing a meeting to recruit a new generation of parents to shoulder the responsibility folks like Clarence Mabe, Kyle Cox and Gary Crawford – among many others – carried for so many years. Jenkins hopes to use social media to promote the league and improve communication and possibly have online signups to better suit busy families.
But mostly she’s looking for individuals and businesses willing to lend a hand to youngsters in the county looking to learn the game of basketball and the valuable life lessons that come from good, clean competition.
“That youth basketball league is just so important to learn the fundamentals and to learn about the sport and to learn to love it, so I really want to keep something like that going,” Jenkins said.
For more information, call Karen Jenkins at 423.202.1623.