Community Helping To Make McLain Basketball Players A Matching Team
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa high school is trying to raise at least $1,500 to buy the basketball team items that many might take for granted.
Last year the varsity team at McLain went all the way to the Championship. They played well but their coach and the community noticed something was different from the other teams, and vowed to fix it for this season.
McLain High School's varsity basketball coach, Cordell Love, tells his players to give it 100 percent every time they hit the court. That work ethic got them to the championships last year, but after the game, Love made an observation.
“Man, my kids played such a good game and got this far, but we are not even looking like a team,” he said.
It was a simple difference, their basketball shoes.
“These kids go to a championship game at the fairgrounds and the team they're playing has matching red and white shoes, and they're in eight different color shoes,” said local pastor Donald O’Neil Tyler. “So their self-esteem drops down. They start to think, ‘Maybe we are not as good as them,’ and, ‘Maybe we don’t deserve what they have.’”
Tyler is not only a pastor, he’s a team mentor, that’s why he decided to get the players matching shoes - but basketball shoes aren’t cheap.
The team has 16 players, and, right now, they are about $600 from their goal with the hopes of raising enough money to get the shoes by the start of the season.
“It didn’t really matter last year, but if we dress like a team and act like a team we will play like a team and we will come together as a family more than a team,” said McLain player, Paul Vann.
Vann said his team couldn't be more thankful for how the community is helping.
“We are on the north side, so, I'm not going to say a lot of people don't care, but I like what the pastor is doing, and he is the first to jump on with us and jump on board with us. I'm loving it, actually," he said.
Love said, “This year I'm kind of superstitious. If we get good tennis shoes, maybe we can win state this year.”
The first game of the season for McLain is scheduled for November 24th.
If you are interested in donating, the church has set up a donation page where you can help.