Female basketball tourney about growing the game
The sounds of basketballs thudding and squeaking sneakers reverberating through the gymnasium floor at All Hallows Elementary in North River usually means a couple of thing.
On the weekend of April 16, it’ll mean that five Grade 5 female teams from around the region are thick in the throws of fun competition and learning the ins-and-outs of the game of basketball.
It’s a rare thing for the area, a Grade 5 female basketball tourney. It’s more common to see such events geared towards players in older grades.
Along with All Hallows, the tournament will feature Immaculate Conception from Colliers, St. Anne’s Academy of Dunville, Holy Redeemer in Spaniard’s Bay and Holy Cross Elementary from Holyrood.
It is not a tournament in the traditional sense. There are no medals for first or second place and no banner to hang in the your home gym.
Each team plays everyone else once before heading home with a day of basketball under their belts.
While organizer Dave Penney — who also coaches the All Hallows team — wants to see some good competition being played on this day, there are more important things sometimes.
“I’d like to stimulate an interest around basketball in the area,” he said. “It’s to encourage physical activity.”
Penney has been running this program since November and has played a couple of games over the past number of weeks. However, to see the development of your skills as a player you need game experience.
That’s where the idea of the tournament came from, according to Penney.
Tournaments like the one planned for North River are also an important teaching opportunity for the game as well. Players who may not be that familiar with the rules can be taught to understand them better in the confines of an actual game.
“You can only practice so many times,” said Penney. “It’s a coaching opportunity too. I’d like to introduce more girls to the game of basketball.”
The number of young female athletes who are playing basketball in the Trinity-Conception-Pla- centia region may surprise some people. Along with the programs at All Hallows, St. Anne’s and Holy Redeemer, Penney extended offers to St. Peter’s in Upper Island Cove, who would’ve brought two teams and another local school.
While initially in the tournament, the teams had to drop out for various reasons.
“There was the potential for eight teams,” said Penney.
The potential for this to become an annual event is there, especially with the number of teams out for its first go-around. Tournaments like these can be an important step in the developmental chain of any sport.
Growing a game has to start somewhere and the younger the players are introduced to it, the better.
“I’d like to see it continue and hoping that it grows,” said Penney. “We need sports.”