Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Causeyville just celebrated their third successful year for their youth basketball league where the youth of their community are learning not only how to ally oop but also how to become leaders of their generation.
This past season kicked off on Jan. 9 with the Opening Ceremony, hosting almost 50 players ranging in ages from 6 to 17.
Tammy Shadwick was appropriately nicknamed "The Commissioner" by her fellow committee members, which include Amanda Carter, Roosevelt Carter, Patricia Walk-Everette, Joyce Irby, Billy Malone, James Norman, Debra Norris, Brenda Phillips, Lisa Walk, Melvin Walk, Eric Newell, Phyllis Alford, Dorothy Shadwick, the Rev. Ronnie Walk, Stephanie Walk, Patricia Sturdivant, Samantha Hunger and the Rev. Greg Baylor. Shadwick founded the league and has led her adult team in teaching the youth "Sportsmanship, Respect, Responsibility and Choices."
The Rev. Greg Baylor, who pastors the church, took on the youngest age group, coaching the 6- to 8-year-old "Ambassadors." The "Lions and Lionesses," ages 9- to 11-year-olds, were coached by the Rev. Ronnie Walk and his wife Stephanie, and the "Crusaders," ages 12- to 17-year-olds, had such overwhelming participation that it required a staff including First Lady LouAnn Baylor, Rosie Gordon, Kenneth Heidelberg, Eric Newell and Melvin Walk.
Men and women, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles all gathered together every Saturday in the Family Life Center to cheer on the youth as they played their way to a better understanding of Jesus Christ. They were also coached in building self-esteem and leadership skills — along with how to perform a mean slam-dunk.
The Closing Ceremony was held on March 6 with a face-off between the "Crusaders" and the "Old Timers," a team comprised of adults over the age of 18. Following what was sure to be an entertaining game, each player in the league was recognized and received a certificate and medal.
This past year, a souvenir booklet was given to the players, becoming a valuable keepsake to the youth and their families. This served as more than a memento of the season — it helped in assisting funds for underprivileged players.
The league also recognized and thanked their financial contributors and supporters, which included James Norman, W.T. Will Everette, Nathan and Dorothy Shadwick, Ruby Merrell and an anonymous donor.
Shadwick and the committee are anxiously awaiting registration in October for the 2011 season, and they are prepared to welcome more players and families to reach out to.
For more information, contact Tammy Shadwick at (601) 692-4874 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.