Hoops in the Hood Recap
This past summer I was blessed to be given the opportunity to coordinate this year’s Hoops in the Hood. Hoops in the Hood is a Summer youth based program that strives to promote peace and unity in the neighborhood through basketball.The players range from ages 10 to 17 years old and are from different neighborhoods throughout Back of the Yards. Our official Kick-Off was July 8th and our last game was August 18th. In total we had 7 events with 13 teams. We had 12 of those teams formed within the community and our very first team from Brighton Park. This program is not only well known in back of the yards but is already reaching other neighborhoods. Each game is typically held at public parks or venues. We do this in order to reclaim these public spaces and give them back to the communities;this summer was no different. Every week we had each game in spaces like Kelly Park, Cornell Square Park, Davis Park, Sherman Park, and our very own Back of the Yards College Prep. Our program had between 125-140 players with turnout from local residents increasing each year. For the last event we decided to do a Championship game and an awards ceremony at the Back Of The Yards College Prep where we had Cornell Square Park Varsity versus Brighton Park Varsity competing for First Place and Second Place, and Holy Cross Varsity versus Precious Blood Varsity competing for Third Place. As for our junior division we had Cornell Junior Varsity versus 9th District Junior Varsity competing for First place and Second Place, and Sherman Park Junior Varsity vs Holy Cross Junior Varsity competing for Third Place. At the end both Holy Cross teams were awarded Third Place, 9th District Junior Varsity and Brighton Park Varsity were awarded Second place, and lastly Cornell Varsity and Junior Varsity were crowned reigning Champions for 3 years in a row! After our Championship Games we were invited to participate in this years 11th Annual Hoops in the Hood Cross-City Tournament at Grant Park on August 19th. Our kids were more than happy to play and even made it to the finals that day! Our Pee-Wee division came out Second Place and our All-Girls Team came out Champions in the all girls division. Many kids throughout the program have started off as little as 10 or 11 years old and keep coming back each year with their siblings just to play ball. Were watching them grow up and slowly get involved more and more in their communities. Most of them don’t even realize the monumental impact they make in their neighborhoods and it’s one of the things I love about this program. Overall this summer was full of fun and excitement. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.