Princeton Times

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January 20, 2013

Schaeffer prepares kids for friendly game of ball

PRINCETON — At last Saturday's opening of the Upward Basketball season, a former coach sought Princeton First United Methodist Church Director of Youth Rebecca Schaeffer out.

The man had served as a coach in the program for a couple of years before heading off to college. He had returned that day to watch his brother that was following his footsteps by coaching in the league.

“He came up to me and pointed to a player,” Schaeffer said. “He said that he had coached the player before he left and that he wasn't very good. Now, he said that he was a totally different player.”

Schaeffer explained Tuesday afternoon that the coach's reaction was what she was working for in organizing the youth basketball league at the First United Methodist Church.

She added that her church strove to create a Christian environment where the children could focus on honing their basketball skills. They don't even keep score for the younger children according to Schaeffer and they try to make it as easy to handle for parents as possible.

As of Tuesday, there were approximately 215 children from K-6 involved in the basketball league. Games start on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and last until 6 p.m. The league also offers cheerleading activities as well.

“We only have one day of practice a week,” Schaeffer said. “That's a little less demanding than some of the other youth leagues.”

In trying to create a Christian environment for the games, Schaeffer is happy to report that the parents, coaches, volunteers and community members have been overwhelmingly cooperative.

Only one incident stands out in Schaeffer's mind. At one point, parents became heated during a game. Schaeffer had to sit them down and explain that their behavior was not acceptable.

“That was the only thing though,” Schaeffer said. “And they calmed down really well.”

The subject of southern West Virginia's people brings a smile to Schaeffer's face. She explained that she had grown up in York County, Penn. She had come to find that Princeton was a very friendly place.

She didn't quite expect that at first, but once she got used to it, she grew to enjoy it very much. And she's making sure the children get to experience the same friendliness on the court.

“We don't allow negativity on the court,” Schaeffer said.

 — Contact Matt Christian at mchristian@ptonline.net.

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