It was a typical Saturday morning for a group of young basketball players, engaging in their weekly sessions at the Kingston Impact Basketball Academy, hitting the gym with enthusiasm.
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But today was unlike most weeks. They had the opportunity to learn from some of the finest basketball players in the province.
“We were practicing basketball with the Queen’s Gaels coach, and we did lots of practice,” young Theo said. “I got to do new stuff,” Maddie added. “I do the same stuff every week, but this week there were different things, and I like different things.”
The likes of Connor Kelly and Laura Donovan took charge of running drills for the week. This collaboration marked the first time Queen’s and Kingston Impact had worked together since the pandemic’s end. The joy evident on the kids’ faces indicated their happiness at its return.
“From the young kids’ perspective when they get to work with 6-foot-6 boys that play the game which they’re aspiring to do one day, it’s really special for them,” said Kingston Impact Academy director, James Wallace.
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The interaction wasn’t just valuable for the kids; it was equally meaningful for the Gaels.
“Just being a USports athlete, you have a little bit more of a platform to hopefully be a role model to the younger generation and inspire kids from the Eastern Ontario region,” Gaels Guard, Connor Kelly said. He is a native of nearby Brockville.
The high turnout at the Impact Academy sessions indicated the eagerness of numerous young players seeking inspiration.
“I couldn’t believe it when I walked into the gym this morning how many kids are here, especially because there’s multiple sessions throughout the day. When I was growing up, there weren’t this many kids in the gym,” Gaels Guard, Laura Donovan said.
The thriving participation was a positive indication for the Kingston Impact, illustrating their success in expanding the sport of basketball throughout the city.