31 May E-Hoops– How It All Began
Basketball is and always will be my passion.
I grew up with a family full of huge Michael Jordan fans. My childhood consisted of sitting in my living room watching Jordan play and leave spectators enthralled with this game of ball and after every game I would go outside and try all his moves on my little hoop. Once Jordan retired, I discovered the Warriors and fell in love despite losing Vonteego Cummings, Chris Mills, Chris Porter, and more.
Basketball was my life from five years old to college. I never considered playing college basketball until months before graduating high school when I saw the possibility of playing for a junior college and went for it.
My passion for basketball didn’t stop on the court and I realized I wanted to use my athleticism not simply for myself, but for others. While in college I started helping out with the E-Sports programs. I became a one on one coach for E-Soccer in San Francisco, but my enthusiasm for basketball didn’t quite translate to soccer.
Despite my isolated passion for basketball, I always walked away from those Saturdays having a blast and a little more light hearted. It wasn’t long before I was hooked on the program and impact it had on the coaches and families. Once I transferred to the University of San Francisco the next year, my love grew for E-Soccer and the children I worked with.
About 4 years ago we considered the idea of building a second program to facilitate basketball as an inclusive sport. I was thrilled that my passion and the spirit of inclusion surrounding E-Soccer would be a possibility. We hosted a one day indoor E-Hoops session with no more than 10 children and it was great, but that was all it was, one event.
The energy and experience from that day sparked a desire and presented a reality that San Francisco needed E-Hoops. Within a month of my decision to start E-Hoops I ran into Rex Walters, USF’s former men’s basketball head coach and shortly after the program was launched!
I had no idea how big the program would get in such a small amount of time. We went from posting flyers in hopes to get 30 children to beyond maximum capacity with 60 children. I love E-Sports because we are able to give children love, confidence, and an “I can” attitude that few children with special needs experience .
E-Hoops is close to my heart specifically because I’m able to pass my love for basketball to the next generation, basketball shaped me and taught me dozens of life lessons I hold onto today. E-Hoops celebrates inclusion, an aspect of the sport that I never experienced as a child. As a coach, we are able to teach children to play and understand basketball in a loving, inclusive, and familial environment while pushing them to learn and grow in their physical abilities. We have had many amazing volunteers who have donated time and resources. Some have been an onsite nurse, trained us at orientations, worked with the children, as well as lead skill groups all for free. I’m grateful to be a part of the E-Hoops community and cannot wait to see the program expand and develop. I may be one person part of the E-Hoops team, but one thing is certain that passion and purpose can merge and together they create doors of opportunities.