Long Hot American Summer

The days have been long and hot this summer, but my work has been going well! I’ve been spending the first half of the vacation scoping out basketball courts around the city. Watching games and talking with kids has helped me get a feel for which courts kids use and what times they are most active during the day.

I’ve been busy meeting students and we’ve had great conversations about who they are, where they come from, and what they have been doing over the summer. These students tend to be from the areas around the courts that I’ve visited, and a lot of them attend public schools here in Cambridge. We’ve talked about their experiences in school, what they are up to this summer (a whoooole lot of video games), and of course basketball.

For the rest of the summer I plan to start spending more time at a few specific courts. I want to see if I can build relationships with these students to get a better feel for where they come from, what they are interested in, and how I can get them involved with programs here in Cambridge.

At the same time I have been working on developing my afterschool curriculum focused on basketball. These are all just jumping points (basketball pun intended), but below is a quick outline of some questions I hope to tackle with students.

  1. Math and basketball

    1. Statistics

      1. How do statistics work in basketball?

      2. How can using statistics improve your game?

  2. English and Basketball

    1. Poems about Basketball

      1. How does it feel when you play?

      2. Why do you play?

      3. What is the point of basketball?

  3. History and Basketball

    1. What is the history of basketball?

      1. When was it created?

      2. How has it evolved?

      3. Where is it going next?

    2. Basketballs’ impact on History

      1. What five players had the greatest impact on history?

One thing to note is that people are already doing a lot of amazing basketball-related work here in Cambridge. There is a plethora of nightly leagues and games happening at Riverside, Hoyt, and the area IV courts, to name a few. I’ve also come across the work of Kyle Morris of J.A.B. Step, who meets with students Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday mornings at Hoyt and Riverside courts to help train students with basketball drills and exercises.

As I said, the summer is halfway over, but I hope that going forward I am able to build meaningful relationships with the students and work towards building another model of how we can approach outreach as a city.

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