Written by: Sahih Gindraw, Andrew Hamilton Elementary School, 2020 MSPP Participant. This article was written in support of the MSPP Virtual Stay-At-Home Tournament.

Most kids my age look forward to Fridays and the weekend during the school year, but for me, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are the ones I can’t wait for. You see, on these days I take part in PYB and I think after reading this you will see why they are so special to me.  

A 6 AM wake up, 38-minute walk (normally in the cold), and a 25-minute bus ride across town might seem like a drag to most of my friends for a Saturday morning. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have PYB Program day, but for me I would get up that early and take that long journey to get to Central High School every day if I could. I love PYB Saturdays because it is gameday. The games feel so official, and when we play it is just so fun and it feels like you are in the NBA. We get better with every game. If we never give up on what we love and do what we have to do to be great, we can play in college and probably join the NBA! We also make new friends and test their skills and see how they play and the friendships continue outside of PYB. Another reason I love PYB Saturdays is the breakfast in the morning, since I live so far out west, I normally don’t get to eat. They make breakfast for the kids so we can all get a fresh start because we probably could get a headache if we don’t eat with all the exercise we are doing. That part makes me feel like they truly care about me and all of the other kids, and it doesn’t hurt that the french toast is so delicious and the apple juice is so refreshing. 

Another thing I like is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at school we learn from articles that are very important to read because you can get tips about life, friendship, encouragement, and leadership that we all need in real life. 

The best thing I like about PYB is reading about basketball so we can try to play like the person we read about, and be a better teammate as well. I like how PYB is not just for basketball, it can be for learning too. I like learning about something other than math or social studies once school is over. One of the stories that we read that really inspired me the most was when we learned about people saying women couldn’t play basketball like men. The story was about Maya Moore and showed us that all women are capable of doing everything that men can do. In my mind, all women can do things just as men can. Coach J shows me that because she is better than most of the boys I know that play ball and she is a woman. We also read about Kobe Bryant and his Mamba Mentality. Kobe is a kid from Philly just like me and when we read his story, I wanted to bring his Mamba Mentality to life. He spoke about giving 100% in everything you do and I know that will stick with me for the rest of my life. PYB even brought Kobe to my school last year and that is a moment I will never forget. This is a memory that I only have because of this program. 

PYB has taught me so much about being a part of something bigger than myself. I have seen that keeping a team motivated can be hard. An unexpected loss, a fight, or trouble focusing are things that every sports team suffers from. It is up to the coaches to help the team. Motivating your team to be the best they can be is one of the hardest things, but my coaches are so good at it. They support us all the way in becoming better people and role models. If one of us wants to be a coach or something we can be just like them. We could even grow up and be a teacher or a coach for PYB, because I know I would want to be like them. I look up to my PYB coaches because they are so cool for educating us and making learning fun. We even have one of our coaches that is a teacher in my school. They all teach us about basketball, but they tell us it is more important to do well in school.  I want to say thanks to Coach J, T, and E for making us better in basketball, teaching us about other basketball players, and showing us how to just be good people. This is everything I like about PYB.  I know I will miss it next year when I go to high school, and I know there is not a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday that will go by when I don’t think of that 6 AM wake up, the 38-minute walk, and the 25-minute bus ride that I was always so excited for. Maybe I can come back and help out with PYB next year!