MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Children of Cherry Point have moved their sporting events inside for the winter season, shooting hoops in hopes of becoming the next Michael Jordan.
Roughly 20 volunteer coaches have stepped up to the challenge of teaching nearly 100 junior athletes the fundamentals of basketball.
For one of the volunteers, coaching is the highlight of his day.
“The reason I coach is that I love to teach,” said Capt. John Barnes, a coach for the Tarheels, a team of 7- to 9-year-old athletes. “At the beginning of the season, these kids know almost nothing about the sport, and it’s great to help them grow and learn.”
The Tarheels are part of the Cherry Point Marine Corps Community Services youth sports program, which recently won an award for excellence from the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
The program’s mission is to ensure children have a positive experience in sports by emphasizing learning, participation and having fun. The men and women who are part of the program dedicate their efforts to achieving that mission.
Barnes attributes the program’s success to its structure and the dedication of the all-volunteer coaching staff.
“In youth sports programs, volunteers are critical,” said David Guthrie, the MCCS youth sports director for Cherry Point and one of the coaches for the Tarheels. “They are here because they want to be here. They are the nuts and bolts of all of our sports programs.”
To ensure every athlete participates, the basketball program has mandatory rules that ensure that every player gets on the court in every game.
“A lot of kids quit youth sports at a young age,” said Guthrie. “The biggest reason is that they are not having fun. Our coaches teach the skills, and they make it fun.”
When winter passes, so will the basketball season, but the program keeps different sports going all year. Next on the list is soccer.
For more information about MCCS youth sports, season dates and registration requirements, call David Guthrie at 466-5493.