Rec leagues providing students with team atmosphere, relaxed social community


Bearden students on the CBC Ballers pose for a team photo.

Zoe Evans, Staff Writer

Sports can be a major bonding opportunity for teenagers, but some are off put by the sometimes extreme competitiveness on school teams. Teenagers looking for a laid back alternative have found recreational leagues at community places like their churches or other religious institutions.

Central Baptist Church of Bearden has two teams. The girls are known as the CBC Ballers and the boys are known as the Jehovah Jumpers.

“To me, [rec league basketball] means having fun with my friends without having to worry about how good I am at basketball because it’s not as competitive as school sports,” said Perry Johns, a CBC baller and BHS junior.

Some team members also feel that they have more of a chance to play and enjoy themselves in rec league.

“Rec league for me means that anyone gets a chance to try something fun,” senior Peyton Givens said. “It works well because skill is not a deciding factor in whether we have fun each week.

“Most of us, me included, were the benchwarmers in Upward basketball.”

Since the CBC team is fairly unaggressive, no one is likely to confuse them with professionals.

“Our team started out so badly that they ended up having to move us down to the lower division, and that was pretty funny because we know we’re terrible,” senior Piper Givens said. “We were able to work hard and ended up winning the championship, though.”

The goal of rec league is more to develop personal connections, rather than win every game.

“Rec league has helped me to open up and build a lot of relationships with the younger high schoolers in my church,” Peyton Givens said. “Through playing together, the group of guys on my team has come to trust each other, hold each other accountable, and open up to each other.”

Rec league basketball has become part of Knoxvillian culture in the past couple years. Teams like CBC embrace new communities of ballers.

“A few years back, when my older brother, Patrick, decided to play, only a few teams were present,” Peyton Givens said. “I think it’s the love of being a part of something that is causing so many teens to get involved.

“I personally could care less about the NBA, but I love getting up every Saturday to hang out with my team.”

Of course the team has plenty of fun while bonding.

“A funny thing I remember is Cassie Donnell and I falling down at least five times every game,” Piper Givens said. “It would become sort of a competition between us to see who would end up with the most bruises.”

The team works hard to surpass the difficulties and reach their goals. Through falling down a lot, reaching the championship, scoring in the wrong goals, and even helping one team member battle an illness, they all try their best.

“A really memorable moment for me was watching our guys’ team play because during the season, one of their players was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Piper Givens said. “They all made wristbands and jerseys with his name on it, and they dedicated their season to him.”

The team’s sense of unity and encouragement of one another make their successes exciting and emotional: sometimes to the point of tears.

“The best time was when we won the championship game and our coach was so thrilled that he teared up,” Donnell said. “CBC ballers is just so hardcore.”