Brocklehurst basketball group sparks community fellowship during pandemic

Two basketball hoops stood begging at the end of McGillivray Street, asking for action on a Wednesday afternoon.

Showers gave way to a dash of sun, occasionally peering through clouds, and rims were ready for the rock.

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But the street in Brocklehurst was silent and the hoops looked lonely, almost drooping, it seemed.

KTW was tipped off about a feel-good neighbourhood story, about a group of kids that began taking part in a weekly informal basketball camp once COVID-19 restrictions eased — a few hours of fun led by a benevolent parent.

The Wednesday 4 p.m. start time neared and nary a kid could be found.

Perhaps the rain scared them away.

Maybe the story tip was from a crazed reader whose visions of community fellowship were drummed up in a plague-induced haze, the certifiable work of Brocklehurst’s berserk basketball babbler.

And then came the sound, the bouncing of a pair of balls as two teenaged boys ambled in off of Tranquille Road.

The echo — Bounce! Bounce! — seemed to double as a starting whistle, a basketball signal sent up into the sky.

Soon a little girl, no older than six or seven, was nipping at the boys’ heels, eager to tag along. Neighbourhood dog Lucy then careened out of a carport.

“This kind of started after the shutdown,” said Lukin Krecsy-Hale, a 15-year-old member of the McGillivray Posse.

“We just kind of started connecting. My friends from down the street, I’ve known them for 10 years now. We started hanging out again and talking, and then we started playing basketball and more and more kids started joining.”

Ethan Seppala, 10, broke from crossovers and layups for a brief interview.

“A couple of kids just started playing and it became fun,” Seppala said. “Tim, he’s our instructor. He’s just been a help and just wants sports to keep going.”

The two hoops were no longer slumped and sagging. Friends, about 10 of them, had returned.

Chain-link netting rattled and rippled. Smiling backboards accepted high-fives made of rubber and leather, even some made of brick. Some of the high-fives completely missed their mark, air balls that landed in Instructor Tim’s front yard.

Tim Busse and wife Melissa, who met while playing basketball for Ambrose University in Calgary, noticed children gathering to use their hoop a few months ago.

“Ever since things shut down, my basketball hoop became gym class,” Busse said. “Little groups of them gathered every day. I’m sitting inside wanting to play with them. We love that they’re using it. But we want to social distance, too.”

Once pandemic-related restrictions eased, Busse delivered flyers to neighbours, letting them know of plans to run drills and set up mini-games, such as bump and 21.

“It’s been huge,” Busse said. “They’re missing their normal interaction at school. They get to interact here.

Kamloops Alliance Church provided the basketballs. One of the two hoops was donated by a neighbour.

“They are here every day,” Busse said. “It starts at about 10 a.m. or noon and often it doesn’t stop until 10 p.m. They’re here all the time. Before, it was segregated, a clump of friends here and a clump of friends there. Now they all play together. The old, the young, they all play with each other.”

Lucy looked tuckered and ready for a drink. The little girl wandered back home.

Instructor Tim eventually took his leave and the McGillivray Posse dispersed.

With heads held high, the hoops were alone again.

Trystan Rosette, Owen Wale, Ethan Seppala, Keaton Jung, Tyson Jung, Colton Wale, Lukin Krecsy-Hale
Trystan Rosette (from left), Owen Wale, Ethan Seppala, Keaton Jung, Tyson Jung, Colton Wale and Lukin Krecsy-Hale take part in one of many drills organized by McGillivray Street basketball coach Tim Busse. - Dave Eagles/KTW
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