By Sage Pitman
“This is one of those things where you would ask, Why would someone do thisto a school, let alone a Christian school?” lower school gym teacher Darrell Ange said. Around the pick up side of the lower school, a basketball goal stands alone at the end of the parking lot. Typically, students will use the goal for warm-ups and exercises in physical education; tailgaters might play the half-court at a cookout before a soccer game or afterschoolers who have finished their homework might try to keep their own score among the frenzy of flying balls.
This summer, while students swum and slept and sunk baskets at home, the old, worn goal was shattered and rendered useless by a few well-thrown bricks. The only useful piece left was the net.
For Ange, his concern lies in why rather than who. “Unfortunately, being Christian sometimes makes us a bigger target. All we need to do is remember to pray for the state of that person’s heart.” Ange found the situation “heartbreaking for not only kids at school, but kids from the church and the neighborhood [who] were enjoying it,” so he set out immediately to reconstruct the beloved basketball goal.
Upper school teacher Will Chancellor came up with the idea to use Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) board, because of its low maintenance and durability, as a backboard. After donating the materials, lower school instructional coach Becky Clark applied the three-helmet Christ Covenant logo and attached the board to the original frame.
Now, the goal stands taller in the same place and is used daily by students, the church and neighborhood. “I like that we use the basketball goal even more now! P.E. is never boring, it’s always super fun,” fourth grader Grayson Barsanti said.
The basketball court is one of the several benefits the lower school has compared to the upper school campus. Kids can socialize while they play and improve their basketball skills during school. For fourth grader Gabriel Newsome, the half-court supplies him with the opportunity to practice his jump shot.
Playing basketball with Upward—“the world’s largest Christian youth sports provider”—for the past few years, Newsome is frequently found at the goal during recess, P.E., or after school. “Mr. Ange has done really well in trying to keep us in shape, and I really like him for that,” Newsome said. Despite the extended height of the goal, Newsome is confident that he will make a slam dunk “pretty soon because I am taller than my grandma.”