By Anjali Ramakrishnan


When I thought about the Hoops Creating Hope program in the months leading up to this summer, I imagined I would be helping to educate marginalized children in Chennai using basketball as an educational tool. And it turns out that’s exactly what we do, and why we’re here. But after my first week actually doing the work, I discovered an amazing bonus that never occurred to me before:

An awesome team!

From the minute I met everyone, I knew I was going to be with people that would make me laugh, make me think, and be able to relate to me. I was shy initially since I hardly knew most of these people. But after a week together, I’ve opened up a lot and gotten to know my fellow coaches. Whether it’s comparing stories of being Indian-American or a new perspective on things I’ve always thought of in one way, I’m bonding with everyone and enjoying something I know I’m lucky to have on this trip.

But as I relish this bonus, I realize that it all makes sense. This camp would not be successful if the coaches didn’t have such good relationships with each other. It’s because we can share our ideas and work together to make each activity great for the kids that the program is so fun – for everyone.

Seeing us work together every day is another piece of motivation for the kids – they learn the idea of teamwork right in front of them and see their role models doing it. That’s a powerful idea that can carry into their everyday life. The kids can each tell how we’re feeling, even when we don’t realize it, so if we weren’t ALL so bright and encouraging towards them, they wouldn’t enjoy coming to camp.

Coaching legend John Wooden said “It Takes 10 Hands To Make A Basket,” and I’ve seen that firsthand this week with the Crossover team. And if this is any indication for the program’s future, I know Crossover will continue scoring.

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