boys basketball team

Eleven-year-old Oliver Stepanic hadn’t played a sport since kindergarten, but this winter, he decided to try basketball as a “personal growth opportunity,” says dad Steven. He set some goals for the season—an aptly-named “bucket list” for his time in YMCA Youth Sports. “[He wanted to] score a basket, box someone out, get a rebound, and steal a ball,” Steven says. “He worked hard and was able to accomplish all of his goals during the season.”

Oliver had a fun perk to playing, as well—his dad was the volunteer coach. “I liked being able to play a sport with my dad as the coach and being part of a team with other kids,” Oliver shares. “I am proud of myself for pushing outside of my comfort zone and trying something new.”

coach talking to his boys basketball team

In addition to seeing his own son achieve so many of his personal goals, Steven had the chance to witness all of his players grow through the season. “I was proud to watch the players execute plays and strategies they learned during practice,” Steven says. “There was one game where our team showed a tremendous amount of heart against a seasoned opponent. It was inspiring to see how they took on the challenge with a positive attitude, team spirit, and tenacity from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer.”

Before coaching, Steven didn’t realize how invested he would become in developing his team. “My goal was for every kid to have the opportunity to play, meet their personal goals, and grow as a player. Being able to coach my son’s team gave him the confidence to take a risk by trying a team sport. It was a unique experience to celebrate every success from practice to the sidelines. These are memories that are irreplaceable.”

Learn more about YMCA Youth Sports at