Wednesday, August 10, 2022
HomeSportHigh hoops for local youth

High hoops for local youth

It was a great opportunity for our local up-and-coming basketball players and youth to meet and congratulate Jackson on her bronze medal and many sporting achievements. Towering over her junior basketballers, Jackson (6ft.5) was hard to miss, wearing the official Welcome Home green and gold with a wide smile on her face. All felt in awe and inspired as Jackson shot some hoops with students from local schools including Alexandria Park, Tempe and Marrickville.

Lauren Jackson is regarded Australia’s most outstanding female basketballer and reflected on her experience as Australia’s first female flag-bearer in over 20 years as “a great honour that I’ll never forget”.

Coach Stewart O’Kell of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy, which draws students from several schools in the area, was there with members of the Under 15s Girls from Alexandria Park. The team most recently claimed a victory over Port Hacking. The girls were thrilled to meet one of their sporting heroes and to take away special-edition t-shirts signed by Jackson.

The NCIE was grateful for Jackson’s visit prior to the Sydney Welcome Home Parade as it promises to encourage many locals to be involved in basketball and to follow in her footsteps.

A recent addition to the NCIE calendar is Midnight Basketball, a national community-run program provided free for “at-risk” youth aged 12-18 years. Starting at 7pm of a Friday or Saturday, each tournament night includes a hot, nutritious dinner, followed by a compulsory life skills workshop before the tournament basketball begins. A bus takes all players home to their front doors around midnight.

Each night requires 15 volunteers who help with tasks like helping to serve dinner, setting up the workshop rooms, managing teams, scoring, refereeing, and driving the buses. “We welcome not only volunteers but all kinds of support from local organisations, whether it’s in-kind or financial contributions. There are lots of ways you can support the program,” says spokesperson Matt Saxty.

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