YMCA takes over JBA youth basketball league
When Adam Pitts was 8 years old, he made a decision that changed his life. He joined the Wareham Junior Basketball Association.
“It was huge,” Pitts said. “Sports were huge for me.”
From playing in the Junior Basketball Association, he learned teamwork and sportsmanship. He remains friends with his teammates to this day.
On Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, Adam proudly watched his 8-year-old son Xavier follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Junior Basketball Association.
Last November, the Wareham Junior Basketball Association announced that it could no longer support the youth basketball league. The program was promptly taken over by the Gleason Family YMCA, where Adam watched Xavier play.
“I love JBA and I love Wareham,” Adam said. “I didn’t want the change, but now I understand that it’s way more beneficial for the kids. It’s more cemented. It has more foundation.”
An institution like the YMCA has more opportunities for funding than the Junior Basketball Association had.
“I love the fact that it’s still going on,” Adam said. “It’s still JBA, it’s just at a different location.”
Lu Brito, Senior Program Director at the Gleason Family YMCA, is now in charge.
“I guess they got to the point where they had a lot of stuff going on,” he said about the original Association. “They were afraid they wouldn’t be able to run it… I’d hate to see it go away after it’s been a staple in the community for over 40 years.”
The Association’s membership took a hit in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brito said that it is the YMCA’s mission to teach “the love of the game,” fair play and including others.
The YMCA is also continuing to host its own Youth Basketball League. The Junior Basketball Association is competitive, while the YMCA league is not.
“We want to give the kids tools to work on their game,” Brito said.
The biggest challenge, he said, has been finding enough space for so many young basketball players. He has received a permit to use the court at Wareham Middle School in addition to the one at the YMCA.
Twelve-year-old Landyn Lopes, who has been in the Junior Basketball Association for three years, took the news well. He goes to the YMCA to play basketball often, and as long as he gets to play, nothing else matters.
“He’s familiar with it,” his father’s girlfriend Michelle said. “He knows the coaches. His friends are here.”
On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Association held a “jamboree” to kick off the upcoming season, with games at the YMCA and the Middle School.
“It fosters the love of the game,” Brito said, “having fun, learning and playing together.”