3-on-3 Tournament

Tournament Director Jason Hennington (middle) and his assistant Jayden Carter (second from right) talk to team captains before a game.

I want to say thank you to everyone who came out last weekend to the seventh annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.

Every year this event grows and gets better.

This year we had a few less teams – 26 and the Shining Stars – but it was more competitive and drew more people. Not just players from all over the place, but more people to just come in and watch.

I learned we have a player that flies in from Atlanta every year to play, in addition to a player from California. This year, we had players from a few different states.

Every year I write a column following the tournament and talk about how great it was, the competition and how it attracts people to Taylor. However, this time, I want to talk about the things that people might not see.

My 11-year-old cousin, Jayden, was my shadow this weekend. I believe I said hello and shook the hand of every person that came in the gym over the weekend. Jayden, who is from Colorado, done the same thing, and he got the experience of how to greet people while trying to keep order.

In the 11-14 age division, there were a group of kids who signed up that were between the ages of 7 and 10. The team they played were older, tall, more athletically developed and had a clear advantage.

On the championship day (Sunday), the older team was told they could not block shots or shoot inside the paint. They happily complied and continued to play. They had a big lead and I told all of the younger kids to go in, which resulted in a five on three game. The older kids kept the same rules and even encouraged their younger opponents. They would give them the ball back and tell them, “shoot it again.”

You don’t see that often, and you never know how that can inspire someone.

In every single game in the adult division, there was trash talk, but nothing overboard. After every game, players shook hands or hugged and said, “good game.”

In the Shining Stars game, at the end when everyone surrounded the court, you saw players who were just battling, standing together clapping, laughing and cheering. After the Shining Stars game, they high-fived everyone and stopped for pictures.

Yes, we made some money that will help some students go to college, and we are making a donation to the American Legion. We also gave away a lot of prizes, but it’s the little moments that I just described that makes it a success for me.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and take the girls to the rodeo. Jasmine doesn’t want to try mutton bustin’ because she is scared she will hurt the sheep.

“Approach the game with no preset agendas and you'll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.”

- Phil Jackson

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