2007-11-23 / Sports

Basketball builds character

By Lisa Paine
VIEW Sports Editor

LAPEER — A group of 56 youngsters learned not only basketball skills but character building and leadership skills when they attended the latest stop of the Pistons Training Camp Nov. 9 at Lapeer East.
The camp was spearheaded by Steve Moreland, Pistons director of camps and clinics, a popular camp coach who returns to the area several times a year to run the highly attended camps.
Each child received a Pistons Training Camp T-shirt, but more importantly, learned how being good leaders in the classroom and at home translates to good sportsmanship on the basketball court.
Moreland gathered all the kids at center court and imparted his wisdom on the young chargers, who were surprised to hear that some of their basketball heroes like Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups had to present their report cards to coach Steve prior to the season.
“The shirts you are wearing are the first things that all of our players receive at the Pistons Camp. The logo on the front is the center court logo of the Pistons organization,” Moreland told his rapt group.
In his first demonstration of showing respect, he asked each child to sit cross-legged with their Piston basketballs placed in their laps. “That shows respect to your coaches, your teachers, and your parents when you all sit the same way and face forward,” he explained.
Moreland then outlined the three areas where the kids can be good leaders: on the court as good players, in the classroom as good students and at home as good helpers.
“I drive through the subdivisions looking for the kids out raking leaves, helping out around home with clean rooms and not inside hiding out playing video games,” he reminded the campers.
He continued, “Chauncey and Rip have to have spotless, clean lockers and just as they set examples in the locker room, you have to set those examples at home with clean rooms and at school with clean lockers. That’s a good sign of a leader.”
Leadership characteristics were the next lesson learned at the camp as Moreland described in detail what a good leader is on and off the court.
“Leaders raise their hands in class. That shows they are confident with the right answers, they are smart leaders and they can act like it. They stand tall, raise their hands and are not afraid to share the answers to questions.”
Moreland then listed the four guiding principles that his Pistons players follow, and that each of them should follow.
“First, you have to be on time,” he explained. “You have to be good listeners at school and at home, you have to work hard and you have to display good sportsmanship. We have four trophies to hand out today and I don’t want to see anyone stomping around and mad if they don’t win. That’s not good sportsmanship.”
Coach Steve reminded the group how many times he has lost a basketball game and that there always will be another game, another opportunity to try to win, and that you can’t always win, but you can always be a good sport.
Those character-building lessons were then put to the test as the campers were divided into age groups to learn basketball basics, teamwork and leadership on the court. Former West grad Kyle Tomasi and other varsity athletes were Coach Steve’s assistants for the day.
Moreland stresses the life lessons that his charges can carry forward from elementary school on in to junior and senior high school, and beyond, while teaching them basic basketball skills and respect. For many of the kids, this was their second and third sessions with Moreland.
For many of the parents in attendance, it’s a golden opportunity for an outsider to stress the lessons they are trying to teach their kids at home.

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