Winter is not just a time for holidays, but also a time for basketball.
The Boys and Girls Club of Grant County started its basketball league last week, with games scheduled every Wednesday and Saturday.
With 14 teams spanning grades three through eight, the Boys and Girls Club, located at 3402 S. Meridian St., was packed with players and parents this weekend.
Shy-Kell Love sat in the bleachers, cheering on her two sons, ages 8 and 11, as they get back into the swing of the season.
With four boys, the oldest being 18, Love said she’s been involved with the club for a while now.
Her youngest son, Cortez Love, Jr., often called C.J., has been participating in the basketball league since he was in kindergarten.
Love said her boys have always been involved in sports, usually participating in football, baseball and basketball throughout the year.
“That’s why we try to keep the boys busy, so they stay out of the riff-raff,” Love said.
As a nurse, Love said she’s seen how Marion’s drug epidemic can affect people and tries to keep her children focused on sports instead.
Having spent so much time at the club, Love said she knows most, if not all of the children on the teams. Her husband is coaching one of the teams this year.
Love said she roots for all the players as well.
“I cheer for both sides, even though my baby’s on the yellow team,” she said.
The facility has two basketball courts with games going on simultaneously.
While Love moves back and forth between games to support her sons, she said she prefers watching the younger kids play because it’s less competitive.
Like many other parents, Love shouted words of praise and encouragement to her children as they played.
In the end, 488 Properties ended up beating C.J. and his team, Team Persinger, 21-16, but the kids were happy to play.
Chandra Jackson, filling in for 488 Properties’ coach, said it can be challenging to coach young children.
“There can be a lot of pressure on them,” Jackson said.
But Jackson believes the league is about more than just the game.
“It’s about love, respect and communication,” she said.