It has been said that sports are a microcosm of life. Indeed, the qualities and characteristics required in the game of basketball often mimic the social expectations of the larger community around us. But in economically depressed areas where unemployment, substance abuse, peer pressure, and absent parenting are prevalent, basketball plays the larger role, building a foundation the enables players to succeed off the court.
A Game for Everyone
Playing basketball evens the playing field for boys and girls. On the court, it does not matter where you come from, your ethnicity, economic or family situations. What matters is having the drive to play hard and a willingness to learn critical skills for success. Basketball requires discipline and commitment. It is a structured form of ‘brotherhood’ where boys and girls learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration; learning to win and learning to lose. It’s respecting the coaches, the parents, the players, and yes, even the opposition. Basketball nurtures character traits that build strength which can be applied in everyday situations from completing school homework to applying for a job, to becoming a confident adult that envisions and pursues dreams.
Enter Hoops ‘Til it Hurts, a non-profit foundation that was born of the desire to invest in kids who have the drive to play hard and to provide the resources they need on and off the court. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Hoops ‘Till It Hurts helps alleviate financial burdens by providing athletic apparel and grants to pay for costs associated with tournaments, registration, league fees, travels expenses, and gear. Off the court, Hoops assists youth in having difficulty in school by providing tutors and mentors.
Meet Skeet Horton
Skeet Horton started as one of those young kids. Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago, Skeet lost his father to violence at a young age. Basketball was where Skeet learned to be accountable and when he played, he gave everything. He hooped ‘til it hurt. In return, basketball gave him positive male role models and the drive to become a better version of himself. Skeet’s first-hand experience with basketball and the impact it made in his life, drove him to found Hoop ‘Till It Hurts. Today, Skeet is actively involved in the foundation, encouraging boys and girls to take a chance on themselves and to trust others.
Basketball is more than dribbling, running, and shooting. It is a mental, emotional, and physical journey that requires adopting certain traits and behaviors to be successful. It builds camaraderie, family, and relationships that last long-term. Basketball is a place where kids can be kids – running, laughing, and playing. And when you see the positive transformation of a young person, well, that’s the best 3-point score one can hope to see.
For more information on Hoops ‘Till It Hurts or to get involved, visit: https://hooptilithurtsfoundation.org/