We are living in a world that is 180 degrees from Upward Basketball.  My son plays and I coach for a Northern VA travel hockey program in Reston.  With the time and money spent for travel hockey, the focus is on developing these kids into the very best hockey players and continuing to grow the reputation of winning hockey program.  This double life is not without it comedic moments.  One Saturday afternoon, we rushed from a hockey game to referee an Upward Basketball game together.  Each game begins with both teams at center court for a devotion led by the referee.  After I completed my prayer, Daniel with a confused, wry smile on his face said, “I don’t expect you to be doing that in a hockey locker room any time soon”.

Many kids today live in a world of X-box and Nintendo or the elite travel sports programs.  The middle ground of rolling a ball out into the street and seeing 8 kids run out of their house, is our memory but unlikely to be our kids.

The Upward Sports program provides this middle ground.  The program offers a stark contrast to travel hockey.  It also offered our family time watching my son Nathan play in a non-competitive, spiritual uplifting, relaxed environment all of which are quite conducive to his personality.  He made friends outside of school, was guided by three positive and enthusiastic coaches and looked forward to both the scripture devotion and the star after each game.

Peace often took shape late on a Saturday night as I would recall my day, not so much for the coaching to a hockey goaltender about angles and covering 5-holes but more about the under-sized child, with his entire family watching, who scored a basket after a pass from the best player on his team.

Providence and the Upward Basketball program provide our youth and their families with peace and reflection that extends well beyond a Saturday afternoon.  Upward Sports first and foremost teaches that every child is a winner and the message that Jesus Christ is #1.

Ed Sugrue, Providence Upward Basketball Coach and Referee