By Greg Price
The new gymnasium for Barnwell School is now open, and to help celebrate, a fun and innovative way to work on one’s basketball skills is being offered.
A Rhythmic Basketball Skills Clinic will be taught this Saturday by Emily Larson, a three-time Academic All-Canadian, a three-team team captain at the University of Toronto/Mount Royal University and a two-time team MVP in university basketball.
“There’s a microphone she brings and she has picked a few songs that have a real distinct beat to them that have a really high cadence. The kids start dribbling the ball to the beat and she adds some moves like cross overs,” said Aaron Edlund, vice principal and athletic director at Barnwell School, of the fun clinic that works on dribbling, footwork, timing and technical expression. “If you show up late and you hear it in the hallway, there’s the sound of like 50 basketballs being dribbled in unison. It’s really cool. One of the things with young kids, is they don’t dribble hard enough which helps control the ball which this clinic can help with in getting people into that rhythm.”
Larson has been taught the skills of the Rhythmic Basketball Skills Clinic by Ganon Baker, a world-renowned basketball skills trainer who has worked with the likes of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.
The event will also give parents and kids a look into the new gym at Barnwell School as part of the institution’s modernization.
“We are still waiting for the bleachers to come in, but we have basically doubled our hardwood from the old gym,” said Edlund. “We are really excited to put that to good use. The guy that painted the lines was really easy to work with and he had some good ideas. We have different school colours marking the lines. There’s no reds, or greens or yellows anywhere, it looks really sharp.”
Sight lines have also been improved vastly in the new gymnasium. So while the old gym certainly had its mystique, many spectators will certainly not miss the infamous pillars from the old gym.
“There were places you would sit, where it was hard to see anything with those pillars. There are no pillars to be found, and parents with kids who are running around in the hallway, can watch in the hallway because there’s big windows into the gym. It’s basically a big, open recreation angle. It’s not super, ultra fancy, it’s just nice and modernized with better functionality,” said Edlund.
But for all the faults of the old gym, it did have its own mystique and identity all its own for a small rural school.
“My wife and I were just talking about the Sugar Bowl (basketball tournament in Raymond), and I guess it was its 50th anniversary. It used to be in the Stake Centre where it was just packed,” said Edlund. “They still get a lot of people there, but it doesn’t quite have the same feel. With our cake auction, we would have people jammed in every doorway and it was a standing-room only type of a thing. We will see how it feels with our auction Jan. 26, and hopefully the bleachers will be here by then. We will get a really good idea of how the gym feels then.”
The Rhythmic Basketball Skills Clinic goes on Saturday, Jan 7, at 11 a.m. for Grade 4-7 students and at noon for Grades 8-12. Cost is $5 and can be paid at the door. Bring your own basketball.