Greatness sometimes comes from humble beginnings, and Helping Hoops is always about helping those who endure some of the humblest beginnings to life imaginable. You never know what can put a child on the path to success, and we try to expose our kids to as many new experiences as possible to give them the inspiration they need to be their best.
With this in mind, it was fantastic to receive the opportunity to step out onto the court just minutes before the Melbourne Tigers took on the Townsville Crocs to run a special pre-game session with a select group of Helping Hoops participants. The session was run by former Tiger great, and current community hero at the club, Warrick Giddy. Warrick was joined by Helping Hoops coaches Mike Spears and Omar Coles and put the mostly refugee and migrant background kids through their paces on the biggest stage basketball has to offer in Melbourne.
The opportunity was so far removed from the everyday experiences of the kids, who are mostly from inner-city public housing estates around Melbourne, that it is sure to remain as a treasured memory for years to come.
Following our five-minutes (actually around 20) of fame, the select group joined over 100 Helping Hoops kids, staff, volunteers and families who piled into Hisense Arena to watch the Tigers take on the Crocs. The kids did their best to bring the Tigers home by making noise and enthusiastically urging on their heroes. Unfortunately, the Tigers fell just short, but that did not dampen the spirits of the children who thoroughly enjoyed their night out.
The Tigers have partnered with Helping Hoops officially since 2012, and we are extremely grateful for the support and the opportunities the club has offered us. We would especially like to thanks Lee Di Sipio, Warrick Giddy, Wayne Peterson and Mark Boyd for making it all possible and their ongoing support.