From press reports

The 8th season of the Louisville Upward program is underway and drawing good crowds each Saturday morning.

With approximately 185 children participating in this Christian sports ministry, these young athletes are entertaining the fans, but more importantly, enjoying it themselves. The players learn basketball basics and techniques, but life lessons in a religious atmosphere.

Each Saturday morning at First United Methodist Church, the K5-2 grade children play their basketball games and cheer at the 9:00 and 10:00 am games, while the 3rd-6th grade children play their games at First Baptist Church at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 am.

According to organizers, the players compete and play hard but coaches and officials are quick to keep the games friendly. All games begin with a prayer and the players line up and are paired up by size and issued a colored bracelet. The bracelet color indicates to the players who they are supposed to guard. It’s an easy system that keeps the mismatches on the court to a minimum, which coaches say allows most players to get involved in the game at a high level of competition.

“It takes approximately 75 volunteers each Saturday to conduct the Upward program and Louisville is blessed to have those willing to work with these children,” said Wendell Womack. He added, “If you want to be entertained on Saturday morning at no expense, attend one of these games and see why this program has been so successful, by touching so many lives through a children’s sports program.”

The Upward program is also drawing one luck participants name each halftime to win a donated item from Winston County natives who are colaching on the collegiate level such as University of Mississippi Coach Andy Kennedy.

Upward Sports calls itself “the world’s largest Christian sports league for kids.” Last year, nearly 550,000 children between kindergarten and sixth grade participated in one of Upward Sports’ 5,162 leagues. Upward sponsors leagues for basketball, soccer, flag football and cheerleading. According to its website, “Upward Sports uses the universal language of sports to connect with kids at a critical age and help them discover and build athletic skills, values, self-confidence and a life-long love of the game. That’s why our youth sports leagues and kids sports camps provide them with the best sports experience possible.”

For more information on Upward, visit www.upward.org.