Spring 2021 Update- A letter from the BYB President
Hello and Happy Spring to the BYB community-
It’s hard to believe how the past years events have impacted us all in our personal and professional lives. Like so many, the world of youth sports was also impacted and specifically Barrington Youth Basketball (BYB). However, with the help of many volunteers, we pulled together and were determined to provide an option for our kids and families who were looking for an opportunity to play competitively.
For many of us, this past year was far more important than just a ball and a scoreboard. It was about kids connecting with friends in person (and putting down the electronic device), exercising in a safe and convenient environment, and having fun while continuing to learn the game. Our 8th grade team won their league this past winter season. These young men played and worked hard this past season and in our team photo, each smile tells a unique story. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the friendship of 3 of these players as 4th graders was the unofficial beginning of the BYB rebuild that officially began 2 years ago, and has now grown to over 70 BYB participants, even despite the pandemic.
In communications with other Feeder Programs, many of them were not as fortunate. Feeder programs that boasted nearly 125 kids/ families were left with no place to play and cancelled seasons. Anticipating these challenges last summer, we “pivoted” to new locations while holding true to our values of Coaching, Competition and Culture as differentiators. Putting the best overall interest of our D220 kids, inclusive of social and emotional well-being, will continue to be the main priority for BYB coaches and parents in 2020 and beyond.
I’d like to take a minute to recognize and sincerely thank those who made the past year possible. It starts with the kids. Although they don’t know it or see it, they truly inspire us and their coaches to do what we enjoy. Playing basketball in masks is hard. Very hard. But the love of a sport and playing with friends, far outweighs the inconvenience. Just ask the guys in the picture above. These players played hard, got better, and had a little fun in the process. They learned life skills such as perseverance, respect, and teamwork. They won trophies, lost games (and at times their shoes) and learned about competition, success, overcoming injuries, and how to handle failure. As parents, it reminded many of us how special it is to watch our kids simply play and something that maybe we look at differently in 2021 and into the future. They truly do and will continue to inspire.
I’d like to thank our BYB coaches who demanded and got more out of our players. Our non-parent coach model is unique in the feeder world as having a clear delineation between parent and coach is important, especially as players grow. Players play, coaches coach the players, and parents manage the program. The intensity of competition naturally increases with age, and BYB coaches are no exception.
A special thank you to fellow Board members, Mike Shackleton and Scott Erickson who began this journey with me 2 years ago helping to rebuild. Their leadership and love of the game was vital in building BYB back to where it belongs in our community. I’d like to also thank our parents, especially the returning parents who experienced BYB for the first time in 2019 and over 80% came back in some form for 2020 sessions, despite COVID. For the new members this season, thank you as well for taking a chance on BYB and we hope you stay with us and spread the word.
As it’s important to be a good community partner, we were fortunate to cultivate and promote our alliances with other Barrington programs. Many of you know Kent Hengels with the Barrington Park District who has shown an active interest and support of BYB over the past 2 years. In addition, our Barrington Lady Bombers, led by Rachel Johnson, are truly inspirational and offer outstanding basketball options for the young lady hoopsters of Barrington.
Canlan Sports Complex and Life Zone 360 were incredibly flexible in offering an opportunity for BYB in 20/21. When many programs were not in a position to utilize these types of facilities and schools remained closed, each facility stepped up and opened their doors. We also added a new component this past season and introduced LeSeur training to provide speed and agility with an intro to strength and conditioning to our 7th and 8th grade teams. Brian LeSeur did a tremendous job as these sessions were incredibly well-received by both players and parents and will continue with BYB in the future.
We’re excited to announce plans for our BYB Spring offerings as well as 2021/22 BYB Team Tryouts next month on April 5, and April 7 at Canlan Sports Complex. At our expected growth rate, it is important for BYB to plan for resources such as coaching, gym space, and uniforms for later this calendar year. Having visibility on enrollment in April/ May helps immensely. This is not a specific team placement, but simply a confirmation/ interest in playing for BYB next season as official team placement will occur in the Fall. Details to follow but a 20% deposit will be required to hold a spot.
Registrations for tryouts can be found here.
BYB will plan on offering both “A” and “B” (Red or White) teams by grade level and actual placement of each team within the DYTBL (DuPage Youth Travel Basketball League) will also be slotted in Fall ‘21. Many BYB parents may ask, what’s the difference in one team vs. another? Simply put, the 5 S’s of Size, Speed, Strength, Skills, and Smarts all play a role. A player can control all but one of those. As a feeder program, our objective is to prepare the player for their next 12 months of basketball. Nothing beyond that. It’s a good opportunity to ask players and communicate about basketball expectations. There are several solid feeder programs in the area (Rolling Meadows, Hersey, and Prospect to name a few) and it’s no coincidence these high school programs excel as a result. Providing school friends the opportunity to play TOGETHER competitively at a younger age only strengthens the feeder model.
Should players choose to try out for their middle school team at Prairie or Station, starting them in a competitive feeder league is a very good start. Our spring offering is flexible enough to allow all players in grades 3-8 both boys and girls to continue working on their game while still playing a spring sport (plus there are no rainouts!). This past season 14 of the 27 players for Prairie or Station played for BYB within the past 12 months. Last year, that number was 6.
I look forward to continuing to lead the BYB program into 2021 and beyond. Many assume I plan to step away after next season, however those people don’t know me well enough or know just how much fun this is! Although I never actively sought out this specific responsibility, our community deserves it now more than ever as it’s simply more than just a game to me…
Hammond Meuer (Meyer)
President-Barrington Youth Basketball
Also if you are looking to continue or start training with our staff this spring, we will be offering a BYB Spring Skills Academy in April & May. Commitment is flexible. For more information click here for more information.