Folsom Youth Basketball is Changing Lives–One Child at a Time
March 7, 2017
Filed under Sports
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Every Saturday morning, when season is in session, hundreds of young boys and girls from 3rd to 12th grades arrive at various local schools and gymnasiums to play basketball.
The FYBA, Folsom Youth Basketball Association, is a recreational basketball league for Folsom kids, and they’ve had a great impact on the community. Many people believe that the introduction of different sports leagues give young people something to do instead of being engaged in criminal activity on the streets. With regards to the FYBA, that is true–to an extent.
Since the start of the organization in 2007, crime in Folsom has reduced. In 2006, there were 1,189 thefts in Folsom, while in 2007, there were 1,146; in 2006 there were 22 cases of arson while in 2007 there were 13 cases.
Nevertheless, the crime rate in Folsom has always been relatively low and the reduction of crime seems to be part of a larger national trend. There is little evidence to suggest that the FYBA contributed significantly to the reduction of crime over the years; however, it is important to take into account the effect that the FYBA has had on Folsom youth. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that those involved in sports “demonstrated improved skills in goal setting, time management, emotional control, leadership, wisdom, social intelligence, cooperation, and self-exploration.” The FYBA teaches kids all these skills in addition to how to respect other people. For instance, after every game–no matter who wins–both teams high five each other and congratulate each other on a good game.
According to Varun Mittal, a 16-year-old junior at Vista del Lago who is a participant since 3rd grade and currently a referee in the FYBA, the league provided him with a sense of community and taught him discipline and teamwork. “FYBA provides a place for youths to learn about the sport of basketball, but further than that it embodies the spirit of teamwork, cooperation and having fun,” said Mittal.
Another FYBA veteran and Vista junior, Raj Ajudia, describes his time in the organization as a basketball experience of a lifetime: “So, one of the biggest shames in my life is the disconnect between my ridiculous love of basketball and my not-so ridiculous athletic abilities,” said Ajudia. “Every year, I learn how to transform the eight other distant kids on my new team into family. There’s some real satisfaction out of always stepping away from a season with new friends to high-five in the hallways and share a laugh with. And the memories, man. I’m going to forever cherish some of my own favorites, which include facing up against my best friends in some crazy competitive games, feeling nauseous after a long string of court sprints and helping one of my dejected, bottom-seeded teams all the way to the Finals like a Cinderella. Seriously, I cannot thank the FYBA organization enough for the time they pour into this program so kids like me can have the basketball experience of a lifetime.”
Mittal is one of many who have benefitted from the league, not only as a kid but also as a teen referee, providing him with money to spend. The FYBA has hired many teens to referee and score-keep in games. By providing young people with this disposable income, the local economy benefits. In the words of another referee and Vista junior, Andrew Cokley, “FYBA was my first sport and job. FYBA employs hundreds of high school kids from Folsom and Vista…[FYBA] allows teens to get easy employment.”
Even if crime rates haven’t dramatically reduced in the short term as a result of the organization, no one can deny that the FYBA and other recreational sports leagues have played a role in removing the criminal mindset from kids, consequently producing -citizens for the future.