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Basketball program bounces back into Marietta park

Photo by Janelle Patterson From left, Brantlee Thompson, Jaxton Hinzman and Evan Masselli play basketball Thursday night at Flanders Field and Park.

MARIETTA — The sounds of dribbling and cheers after a swoop are back at the Flanders Field and Playground on the west side of Marietta.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m. MOV Rebound for Kids is filling the Harmar courts with laughter this summer instead of the needles found at the park last year.

“I’ve not found any needles this year or had anyone tell me they’ve found any,” said Jackson Patterson, the volunteer leader of the program. “And we’re getting more kids and more life back into the park again this summer.”

The program kicked off last summer as a way to encourage more play at the park and discourage drug abuse on the city property. This spring equipment saw new paint donated by Huntington Bank and on Thursday new hoops, bought by the city’s recreation department, were installed by volunteers.

“It’s a drop-in program, so depending on weather and what other activities are going on in the neighborhood at the Boys and Girls Club or even at the pool we see varied attendance,” said Patterson. “We can have anywhere from five to 20 kids here playing basketball and climbing all over the park.”

On Thursday night Jaxton Hinzman, 6, and Brantlee Thompson, 6, were practicing their dribbling and passing with not only the coaching of Patterson but also Evan Masselli, 13, of Marietta, laughing and running across the courts.

“It’s more basketball at night,” said Masselli. “But it’s fun, we’re all just playing.”

And playing instead of getting into trouble is the goal, explained Patterson.

“It’s like mentorship but not a ton of pressure,” he added.

And the program even drew a few faces from the eastern side of the Muskingum this week.

“I have small kids, and we’re always looking for fun things to do around town,” said Bret Allphin, of Marietta. “I imagine we’ll be back.”

The program will even be joined by a DJ and teen game night with The Right Path for Washington County on July 16. The event will be free to community children.

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com

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If You Go…

* MOV Rebound for Kids, a free drop-in basketball program at Flanders Field and Park takes place between 5 and 7 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday night, weather permitting.

* Children under 12 must have a parent or caregiver present.

* The Right Path for Washington County will be at the park July 16 with a DJ and teen games.

Source: Jackson Patterson

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