Giving Kids a Shot

The Optimist Club of Claremore Youth Basketball League emphasizes team play and focusing on each and every child who plays.

By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2011

Youth basketball league signups last until October 28, 2011.

Youth basketball league signups last until October 28, 2011.

Many parents know the ­frustration: you enter your child in a recreational youth sports league, pay the fees, make sure the child gets to practice and has all the proper equipment—only to watch your him or her sit on the bench most of the season and never get to play. That is why the Optimist Club of Claremore Youth Basketball League is committed to ­providing an environment of fun and learning, where each child’s confidence can grow through participation.

Local attorney Larry Rahmeier of the Optimist Club describes the league as both recreational and educational. “Kids learn self-confidence through basketball skills even over the short season we have,” he says. “Occasionally we have a stand-out player or two early in the season, but through ­participation requirements, we make sure attention is evenly distributed so that the others have caught up by the end of the season—to understand the dynamics of team play, it is so important to focus on everyone.”

Basketball league teams are made up of boys and girls and are divided into three age groups: 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Since school systems can only support so many players each year, these teams were designed to give many more kids the opportunity to play basketball than otherwise would be able to do so. The Optimist Club of Claremore states their main goals for this league as follows: “Everyone deserves the right to participate. Fair play and ­sportsmanship are more ­important than winning. A safe environment is critical for our kids to have fun.”

Coaches are volunteers who have been interviewed and background checked. Teams are drawn on a completely random basis, so no coach is allowed to choose a particular player for his or her team (except his or her child) —and no parent is allowed to choose a certain coach. Rahmeier says the Optimist Club makes every effort to steer away from favoritism. “For us, this is ­entirely for the benefit of the kids,” he says. “Right now, none of our club members even have children this age, so there is absolutely no danger of favoritism.”

Rahmeier is also extremely interested in promoting teamwork amongst children in order to benefit them in later endeavors. To understand the dynamics of team play and why it is so important to focus on each individual’s growth and success in a team sport, Rahmeier recommends the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Signups for the Youth Basketball League began September 18 and will run through October 28, 2011. Once all applications are in, teams of seven to ten are drawn from the pool on November 7, and the number of teams for the year will be determined. Once this is established and coaches are assigned, practices will begin November 7, and games begin December 3. At the end of the season in February, each child will receive a customized T-shirt in lieu of the traditional trophy. To view a tentative event schedule or complete an application for a team, visit the website at


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Optimist Club of Claremore



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Optimist Club of Claremore

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