To The Daily Sun,
Last weekend, the City of Laconia's Lou Athanas Youth Basketball League (LAYBL) concluded its local recreational league schedule with a series of divisional playoff and championships games. Hundreds of hoopsters played in front of their families, friends, and other fans on both Saturday and Sunday. There were many close and exciting games, several of which were decided by only a few points or less.
For over four decades, girls and boys from first grade through high school have played on LAYBL city and travel teams. The effort to provide opportunities for Laconia's youth are possible because of a collective community effort. Parents and family members buy equipment for players and bring them to practices and games. Community members donate hours of time to coach teams, referee games, serve as board members and divisional directors, keep the book and the clock at games, and sell tickets and concessions at the year-ending regional tournament that we host every year. Several businesses pay money to sponsor teams.
The Laconia School District and the Parks and Recreation Department provide gym times for practices and games. The LAYBL experience is possible because our community comes together to commit time and resources for our youth.
Some 260 children played basketball on LAYBL teams this year. When B-team sports were eliminated after significant cuts to the school budget were made last year, the league and the community filled the gap by creating more opportunities young athletes. A full-season schedule of practices and games were put together for both girls and boys in grades 7 and 8. There were a total of five travel teams for over 50 elementary and middle school boys and girls. To make this happen, people volunteered hundreds of hours of time to organize schedules, coach, and referee games. The fact that these people did so for no compensation is yet another example of this community's commitment to its youth.
Though the recreational league games are over for the season, the regional tournament sponsored by LAYBL begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 26. Come see our teams and others from around the state in grades 3 through 8 play games in our city's gymnasiums in a double-elimination tournament. This is another great event made possible because of a cooperative effort and the work of volunteers who love kids and the community and understand the benefits of having youth play team sports.
Thank you to all of the organizations and people in our community who helped us make this year's LAYBL season possible.
The LAYBL Board of Directors