A time just for fun

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 8, 2009

In a city that is home to many fine student-athletes, including this year’s AAA state champion boys’ basketball team, the King’s Fork High School Bulldogs, it’s not too surprising that many people in Suffolk take their sports very seriously.

Suffolk hosts a plethora of youth sports opportunities designed to groom young men and women who will have a shot at leading their high school teams and, ultimately, moving on to play in college. From Pop Warner football all the way up to AAU basketball, Pony League baseball and swim clubs, there are a wide variety of programs in which players, coaches and parents can participate for the exposure, the experience and the education that they offer.

Sometimes, the love of the game involved — not to mention the sheer fun of participating — can get lost in the push for winning games, constantly improving skills and striving for championships.

Fortunately, there are a few sporting programs available to children that still put the emphasis on just having fun. Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Eclipse runs one such program, giving youngsters a chance to hit the basketball court without all the pressures that can be involved in an organized league.

During the church’s summer basketball camp this week, 40 young participants learned some of the fundamentals of the game, but they spent a large portion of their time on the court just having a good time. A matchup of seven kids versus two coaches, for example, could seem to be a recipe for pandemonium. But getting a chance to actually best your coach in a “real” game is just the sort of thing that a child will remember beyond the weekend. And it’s the kind of thing that makes summer fun.

There always will be a time and a place for drills and competitive spirit. The folks at Ebenezer have realized something important, though. There’s also a time and a place for the simpler pleasures of just having a good time. Now, that’s what summer camp is all about.