Thursday, August 9, 2018

IofC inspires member to revitalize basketball courts in hometown of game’s inventor       

                 Andrew Drake - Basketball

I joined IofC because I like being among people trying to find ways to make positive change in the world, as IofC inspires us to do. Here is my personal initiative of change.

A few years ago I decided to start a new project – replacing missing or torn nets on public outdoor basketball hoops. I chose this project because the inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, grew up in a small Ontario community, Almonte, near Ottawa. And I like the fact that basketball is one of the least expensive sports to play, and can be played by one person or by many.

I bought a folding ladder, some tools, and 300 basketball nets, and set to work, often with my wife Mary Ella Keblusek. I first covered a 40 km radius around Almonte, and ultimately covered the entire Ottawa area.

Two aspects of this experience were particularly interesting.

First, several times while returning to check on nets we previously installed, we found that someone had obviously made more improvements, like painting lines on the court, or picking up litter. Sometimes taking the first step can inspire others to join in.

Second, often neighbours would come visit while we were installing the nets. When they learned we were volunteers from another town, doing it to improve their own community, they were astonished. Some shared that they had complained for years to the city about the nets, yet the thought they could do it themselves had never occurred to them.

So now in addition to having many more usable basketball courts in our region, it feels good that we have inspired others to take their own initiatives of change.

Andrew Drake, Ottawa