Sophomore brothers Ryan Schroeck and Ian Baques took to the basketball courts of the Monroe county YMCA Saturday in their first game of the regular season with their 5-6 year old squad of champions. The two heard of the opportunity in the fall semester, and viewed it as an exemplary opportunity to get involved with the Bloomington community youth, serving as both coaches and role models for the team. The duo were inspired by coach, referee, and senior brother Kaleb Sullen, who has worked with multiple teams at the YMCA across a variety of sports. With encouragement from Sullen, along with a desire to help community youths develop as people and athletes, Ryan and Ian took on the task of running practices and coaching weekly games.
“There is an inexplicable feeling of satisfaction I get when Ryan and I are the reason for kids smiling, laughing, and making friends,” Ian had to say about coaching It’s so rewarding for me to teach the importance of teamwork and unity to kids, and the YMCA allows us to instill these character traits, along with others, early on in their lives. Kids will absolutely benefit in the long run from having this experience at the age of five or six.” Ryan had the following to say about his team, “It’s unbelievably rewarding to see the kids playing basketball just out of pure enjoyment. Watching their faces light up after a shot is made leaves us coaches with such a great feeling, as we know we have played a role in inspiring those feelings. With that being said we have a long season in front of us and it will be a long road to the championship.” Schroeck’s ambitious hopes of a title run may be overlooking the fact that the 5-6 year old division does not count wins or losses.
The first day of games started this past Saturday with the duo’s team, The Magic, facing off against the Celtics. Kids experienced jubilation upon receiving their jerseys as coaches drew up plays and defenses that they felt would work to their players’ best attributes. When Kaleb threw up the ball for tipoff, the two teams experienced an offensive show with the first 3 shots taken by both teams going in. The crowd of parents and friends cheered loudly as the young athletes gave them an incredible showing of terrific basketball. No score was kept, however, it was made clear by the many infectious smiles seen around the complex that everybody had won.
And here are a few pictures from the event.