WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Washington Park District building has been quiet.
“We’ve had no organized activities at all,” said Brian Tibbs, the Executive Director of the Washington Park District. “We’d have tumbling in here, basketball too. Those have been canceled.”
Illinois’ move to Tier 3 COVID mitigations last month have been tough on the park district, which has had very sports little activity in its building since Nov. 20. But basketballs were bouncing in its gym this week, thanks to varsity basketball players at Washington High School.
They volunteered to give 30-minute, individual lessons to area youngsters in order to raise money for the KB Strong Foundation and the fight against brain cancer. The foundation is named after former Washington coach Kevin Brown, who lost his fight with brain cancer last June.
“People are looking for things to do. This is a good way for parents to get (Their kids) out of the house and give our high schoolers something to do,” Tibbs said. “Plus we get our building used. It’s a win-win situation.”
Tibbs came up with the idea for the one-day clinic. And the Washington High School coaching staff quickly agreed the idea was a good one.
Young boys were paired with players from the Panther’s boys basketball team, girls with players from the girls team. The high school players haven’t played a game this year as the Illinois High School Association has all prep sports on hold right now.
The gym was divided in two by a curtain so the clinics would abide by the state health mitigations. The varsity basketball players say they enjoyed working on skills with those young players.
But they say what made the day even better was raising money for the KB Strong Foundation.
“We loved him,” said junior Isaac Mapson of Brown. “We haven’t been able to do a lot of basketball. So being in here with these little kids is great.”
The one-day clinic raised $400 and Tibbs says he may try and do another clinic later in the winter, if the Tier 3 mitigations still prevent full practices and games in the building.
“It means a lot to us to do this, whether you knew (Brown) really well or not so well,” said Washington junior Luci Wilson. “He was a great leader, overall. I’m glad we are doing this for him.”