Thursday, September 21, 2023

Badgers get Empowered

Each winter, Berkshire girls’ basketball coach James Bosley challenges his players to give back to the community.

Last season, the Badgers wrote over 100 Christmas cards they delivered to two different senior centers.

On Monday, Bosley and his players took their talents to the Geauga YMCA for a scrimmage against the Empower Sports basketball program. According to the organization’s website, Empower Sports is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to providing sports and exercise programs for children and adults with various physical and cognitive disabilities and additional programs for typically-developing kids.

“It was a great experience from just the girls having fun being there and getting to be a little less serious and goof around,” Bosley said. “They were having dance contests; they did some shooting drills, ball handling drills, and then just played some games.”

Senior Lydia Kastor was thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for the sport with others.

“For me, the Empower program highlights what I love so much about basketball,” Kastor said. “It brings people together, and while I love the competition, it’s also good to just be able to play and enjoy the sport, especially with such a fun group. It takes a lot of energy to play at the level we play, and to see all these players enjoying it just makes all the hours in the gym worth it.”

The Badgers made the most of the opportunity.

“These girls amaze me every time we do things like this, or when we have youth camps in the summer. They embrace everything that gets thrown at them and just enjoy themselves,” Bosley said. “We have a rule this year that the first person in the gym every day has to bring some energy and be excited for the next person to come into practice. It ends up being 19-20 girls yelling and laughing by the time we are all in there. They took that same energy from the start tonight through all the drills until the end.”

Freshman Elise Tiber was thrilled to take part in the event and couldn’t have been more excited to watch her new Empower teammates hit their shots.

“I really smiled big every time my team made a shot,” Tiber said. “We were ballers. The team can play really well.”

Tiber also did her best to entertain the group with her signature Coffee-Grinder dance.

“The coffee-grinder is kind of weird,” she said. “I’ve been able to do it for a while, but basically it’s a simple break-dance move. It’s really fun to do.”

While giving back to the community was the main purpose of Berkshire’s participation, the Badgers also benefited from the event.

“In my opinion, I think they just learned how something as simple as basketball and cheering someone on can have a positive impact on their day,” Bosley said. “Basketball is such a small part of everyday life but it can also bring so many people together.”

As a senior leader, Kastor believes she and her teammates learned a valuable lesson through their altruistic effort.

“It’s really easy to go into our gym and see how we play as a team,” she said. “I know my teammates, and to see them interacting with a whole new group of people and keeping up the energy and support, it goes to show the culture we have created. It was great to see how my teammates transfer what we pride ourselves on into a positive environment for the Empower program.”

Click here to learn more about Empower Sports.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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