“What is your Why?” asks Will Goodloe near the end of his recent Spurs Youth Basketball League coaches’ workshop. As a former UT football player who now teaches and coaches high schoolers in San Antonio, Goodloe is a large human — a fact he points out more than once in his talk, making note of his “6-foot-6, 300-pound-plus” frame and the towel in his back pocket that he used to routinely pad the sweat from his bald head as he paced around the large rec room. By this point in the workshop, he’s already given a background on the program — entering its 30th season this month — gone through a handful of approaches coaches can use to engage with and encourage kids, and highlighted the SYBL’s emphasis on, relationships, respect, and positive choices, among other things.
Goodloe’s Why question about isn’t rhetorical; like much of his talk (one of many in San Antonio and other parts of Texas organized by the Silver and Black Give Back and partners like Positive Coaching Alliance, to which Goodloe belongs) some level of interaction is part of the deal.
To the 48 men and women watching attentively from their folding chairs, the Why is self-evident. There’s a reason each has taken time out to attend on a gray Saturday morning, just as why they’ve committed even more of their time, energy and passion to coach basketball. It’s the kids. Still, as this is a participatory deal, people raise their hands or simply shouted them out, each answer coming back to the children they’d be leading. To my left is a coach in his 40s returning for what he guessed to be his 15th season, while a younger man to his left was entering his first year as an assistant. Various others in the room raise their hands when asked if they’ve previously coached for SYBL, further highlighting that the program, its participants, and figures like Goodloe are anything but one-offs; that their reasons are linked to actual young lives and communities. They know better than most the challenges faced by kids in underserved parts of San Antonio and are investing themselves, through basketball, to reshape those realities and improve their outcomes.
For me, the Why had been a bit more elusive. Unlike the others in the room, I didn’t show up as a coach or assistant or even someone who spent much time in the communities the SYBL has most of its presence in, but as part of a push to help send as many kids involved in the league to a Spurs game on March 22nd. The call to action was more a Why Not than anything else: a mostly positive but largely vague drive to do some good through our site’s platform.
But having actual, tangible reasons is something else entirely — both for me and, more importantly, for the online community we’re excited to ask for donations. While the kids remain the focus for all that SYBL does, the grownups that run the workshops, coordinate behind the scenes, and hold the clipboards at games are their own inspiration. They’re also a worthy reason to feel good about donating to SYBL/PtR Night.
As a reminder, here’s what your contribution provides a three different value points:
- 2 game tickets (1 SYBL kid and 1 chaperone)
- 2 game tickets
- 2 food vouchers (hot dog or nachos and soda)
- Parking pass
- 5 game tickets (4 SYBL kids and 1 chaperone)
- 5 food vouchers
- Parking pass
- 10 game tickets (SYBL basketball team – SYBL team and a coach/chaperone)
- 10 food vouchers
- Parking passes
- (Light House Recognition – Thank you)
Here’s the link where you can donate.
More about Spurs Youth Basketball League:
SYBL or count themselves among the estimated 400,000 who have taken part in it as a player or coach through the years. Founded in 1989 by Gregg Popovich and Frank Martin and funded by Silver and Black Give Back, the SYBL remains a paragon for team-based initiatives of its kind. With involvement from players, coaches and a range of partners throughout Texas, it uses basketball as a vehicle to impact kids in primarily low income neighborhoods, promoting positive values and good decisions. Basketball is taught and played, to be sure, but, like many things associated with Pop and the Spurs, the lessons and relationships it establishes run far deeper. You can learn more about the SYBL by visiting their page.