WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cavs Youth Sports, and the YMCA have partnered up to create a league of their own, called Full Court Faith.
Nobles Darby IV is the FCA Metro-Cleveland Director and the creator of Full Court Faith.
“We saw this league as an opportunity to serve coaches, children, and communities with championship-caliber basketball while promoting Christ,” he said. “Some come from underserved areas but we were able to galvanize enough support from tremendous community partners to be able to provide a first-class experience, which we hope will be able to position these kids to long-term success.”
The league is in its first season. It was free for about two dozen third through sixth graders from the greater Cleveland area.
“One of the biggest things that I saw was just a need for opportunity. I’m a big believer that exposure leads to expansion.”
Darby said the goal is to make kids better athletes and better people, and noted the latter is more easily accomplished when you connect with them on something they already know and love: sports.
“We can leverage the platform of the sport in order to really lay a wholesome foundation that they can lean on,” he said.
They learn the skills needed to compete and grow as an athlete under coaches like former Harlem Globe Trotter, Derick Polk.
“Teaching them about basketball and how to play basketball the right way, I think it’s teaching them about life,” said Polk. “We usually say a prayer before we start and we say a prayer after.”
Love Rose, a 10-year-old in the program, said she’s learned a valuable lesson about never giving up.
“If you miss a shot, that don’t mean that you get frustrated, just keep going,” she said.
Lessons that Nobles is confident will stick with them long after the shot clock expires.
“Help them understand that God has a purpose for their life, there is a calling. The gifts and talent that He gives them are a gift to them, but how they use them are a gift to God,” he said.
The league’s last game of the season is Friday, but FCA said it will open up again this fall and will offer more spots for kids.
To learn more about the options for student-athletes this summer,just click here.