The Pinnacle Lions Club wrapped up another successful season of its community youth basketball program last weekend, continuing a tradition that is still going strong after 42 years.
As a way of honoring its only surviving charter member, the program has been dubbed the Charles Watson Pinnacle Lions Club Basketball League.
“Charles has done so much for this program and this community,” club President Brandon Holmes explained, “and he’s still active today. We wanted to name this after him as a way of honoring him and what he’s meant to the league.”
The program offers children in grades 4-6 from the Pinnacle community the chance to take part in a basketball league, learning skills as well as lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship and structure.
This year’s league featured 36 youths taking part in two three-team divisions, one each for girls’ and boys’ play. A girls’ game and a boys’ game took place each Tuesday and Thursday evening, with teams playing in a rotating format.
After beginning play in early December, this year’s season drew to a close Thursday evening with championship games in each division. The Wildcats, sponsored by Hatcher’s Mobile Service, took the girls’ title while the Spurs, sponsored by Pinnacle Movers, claimed the boys’ trophy. Afterwards, all participating youths were recognized with a trophy.
Organized by the Pinnacle Lions Club, the creation of the league was advocated by then Pinnacle Elementary Principal Charles Bishop and was implement in 1975, four years after the club was formed.
In order to assure every child an opportunity to participate, no fee has ever been charged for play or for game attendance. Refreshments are sold which, along with business sponsorships and fundraisers, allow the community to help in deferring program costs such as insurance.
“We make a point of every child getting to play and getting a trophy,” Holmes said. “A lot of them may not have the opportunity to play in high school and we want to give them the chance to get out there and have some fun while learning teamwork. It’s always a good time and everybody has fun.”
“We do this as a way of giving something back to the community,” Holmes continued. “It’s a giant community effort with parents and the school showing great support and a lot of our volunteers just showing up to help out. This provides a great community outlet.”
Along with parents, local residents who grew up in the program now serve as a steady source of volunteers and coaches. Holmes, a second-generation Pinnacle Lion’s Club member, noted that he had taken part in the program as a child and this year saw two other former players serve as coaches.
“We’ve all gotten a lot out of this,” he noted, “and we want to give something back.”
With the season complete, club members can turn their attentions to other projects throughout the summer. But it is a certainty that, come next winter, the Pinnacle elementary gymnasium will again be filled with the sounds of basketball and community.
“It’s been a good year,” Holmes said, “and now it’s time for everybody to take a break. But we already know Pinnacle Elementary has a big third-grade class and we should have some good numbers for next year. And when it’s time, we’ll be ready.”