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Love and learning on and off the court

The Northeast Rockets team pose for a team photo. Photo provide by Frank Maldonado

It can sometimes be difficult for someone to explain why they are drawn to a particular interest in life. When the sharp teeth of passion latch onto someone’s consciousness and soul, shaking them off is impossible for a certain few. When superstar athlete Kobe Bryant was very young, the sport of basketball helped the young player in the darkest of times. Dribbling and shooting a small ball in his parent’s living room as he watched his NBA athlete father, Joe Bryant, play professional games on their television.   

There is an inherent and immense beauty to the sport of basketball, especially for those who are young. Several players sweat it out on the court to shoot the ball into the net. However, it takes significant teamwork and concentration to achieve this and stay focused on the overall objective: to have fun. Activities and sports like basketball can serve as a tool to help those heading down a dark road. Luckily for communities like El Paso and surrounding areas, there are organizations and public spaces to provide basketball leagues to young people.   

Edgar Flores is one of the founders of Border City Basketball (along with Arturo Escobar and Orlando Hairston), a community and family-based organization offering a plethora of services to the realm of local youth basketball, including basketball leagues, tournaments, developmental skills, training and campuses to play in.   

“Border City Basketball is a dream come true, facilitated by three friends that love and enjoy being a part of youth basketball,” Flores said. “We started our organization two years ago, and it’s been such a humbling and joyous experience for us and being able to bring something that brings people together, which is youth basketball.”   

Flores speaks about the importance of providing these services to the youth and the unique nature of basketball, the ultimate team sport where a team has one shared vision.  

“When it comes to what Border City Basketball brings, we want to ensure we have a safe environment for our kids,” Flores said. “We have kids from all over the region (El Paso, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Albuquerque) who come to a place where they can develop not just their basketball skills but leadership and teamwork skills in an environment where everyone supports each other.”   

Among the many teams committed to Border City Basketball’s 7.0 Fall League and tournaments are the Northeast Rockets, a team full of spirit and love for basketball. Head Coach of the eighth-grade division, Frank Maldonado, says his involvement in the group and the support brings communities together.   

“I grew up playing basketball, then my oldest son started playing basketball and I wanted to teach him everything I learned growing up, so I started coaching,” Maldonado said. “Basketball teaches many life lessons for young kids, like being competitive and learning how to come back from failure. El Paso, as a basketball community, often gets overlooked in the bigger picture, but we have a lot of great teams, players, and coaches out here.”   

Small forward for the Northeast Rockets, Jerry Loya, describes why basketball is unique to him and the bond he shares with his team.  

“I like that it teaches me leadership and discipline, giving me something to work for,” Loya said. “I like to trust coaches, and they know what paths to guide me down.”   

Another league in participation with Border City Basketball is Sun City Sports Lab, a collaboration with Anthony Aaron White and his father, Anthony White.  El Paso natives, the duo tried to create a city sports lab to help the youth of El Paso and get those who may be lost on the right track. Head Coach and owner Anthony Aaron White says this has made a huge impact on him.   

“Both basketball and the team made a huge impact on my life, keeping me out of trouble and allowing me to grow and impact the youth now,” White said. “I believe in basketball as a tool to learn life lessons and allow us to grow with commitment and dedication, keeping our youth out of the streets and giving us positive role models. A tool to allow you to experience opportunities and make friends.”  

H. Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected] .

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About the Contributor
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
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