Upward Basketball is a Christian-based sports program that has games once a week for 8 weeks during January and February. Many homeschoolers participate for their homeschool P.E. program. The boys meet once a week for practice, and the volunteer coaches pray and give the kids cards with Scripture to memorize during the week. The basketball drills include dribbling, passing, shooting, layups, blocking, and teamwork skills.
Two of my sons were on the same team, even though they are two years apart in age. I saw my sons’ skills improving over the two months, and they even scored a few baskets. My boys have enjoyed playing Upward Basketball for two years now.
At the beginning of each game, the boys run through an inflated archway with a smoke machine creating a special effect. Parents and siblings line up on both sides of the archway , creating a human path through which the boys run, slapping the hands of everyone as they run through. The introduction to “The Final Countdown” blasts over the speakers as they run through.
The boys are given colored wristbands that match one player on the opposite team. This way the boy doesn’t forget who he is blocking. At the beginning of the season, watching the game is like watching an episode of “The Three Stooges.” It’s comedic really. By the end of the 8 weeks, actual basketball is being played, since the boys know what they are doing by then.
The basketball season culminates in an award ceremony which meets at the local school gym. Minute-to-Win-It-style games are played. One of the games had the participants shaking ping-pong balls out of a kleenex box tied around their waist. Whoever emptied their ping-pongs first won. (One of the coaches was much faster than any of the kids, so he won the challenge.) Another game had the participants put Vaseline on their noses. They dipped their noses into a basket of cotton. The cotton stuck to their noses, and they ran across the stage to shake off the cotton into another basket. There were three teams, and our team won. We had the most cotton balls in our basket after a minute.
Overall, Upward Basketball is a great way to get your homeschooled kids involved in a sport with a minimum time commitment. It’s hard for homeschoolers to pull together a team and find coaches, but here you have everything taken care of for you, by a nonprofit Christian organization. My kids have enjoyed it.