Eight-year-old Mekeyle loves shooting basketball.
Mekeyle started her basketball career in January 2020. However, she broke her arm at school on the first day of practice. “The coach was extremely understanding and advised us to keep her in the program,” mom Katherine says. “She practiced with one arm. She learned the fundamentals of the game and got to have fun with her teammates. On game days, the referees were amazing. They allowed her to be a part of the game in different ways that would not put her arm in danger.”
That made a world of difference, Katherine shares. “From a parent’s perspective, there is no better show of compassion than what was shown by the coach and referees. During her second season, Mekeyle improved her skills but was still not able to score a basket during a game. She continued to love the game and kept her focus on having fun.”
The very first game of her third season, Mekeyle finally sunk her first basket—the first of the game. “It had a huge impact on her,” Katherine says. “Now, she fully understands that with practice and determination and a will to not give up, all things are possible. She learned resiliency in the best way possible. That basket was a proud moment for her teammates and other parents as they had been able to witness her growth through the seasons. She had worked so hard for that one moment.”
In addition to sinking her first two-pointer, Mekeyle also improved greatly in her defensive basketball skills. “From controlling her dribbling down the court to defending the other team to rebounding shots, she has improved in all aspects of the game,” Katherine says. “She has also shown growth in understanding game plans and working with her teammates.” Katherine and her husband enjoyed watching all the girls on Mekeyle’s team improve both individually and as a group. “Watching them have fun together made us all proud parents!”
When it came to signing up her daughter for the most recent basketball season, Katherine didn’t hesitate. “We were extremely thankful the YMCA offered sports during COVID-19. Our daughter was able to use the exercise as a mechanism to improve both her physical and her mental health. She was able to learn a new skill, get her body moving and blood flowing, and enjoy listening to people cheer for the team and for her.”
Learn more about YMCA Youth Sports at ymcamidtn.org/youth-sports.