Basketball requires little equipment, space, and is a fast moving game suitable for youth energy and stamina. Several churches started such programs in the mid 1980’s. Some priests were supportive, while others considered the church’s responsibility as solely spiritual. Many parents were enthusiastic to have their sons play in a wholesome atmosphere. Several Sunday School teachers and parents acted as coaches. Games were organized between participating churches in the area. Several troublesome incidents occurred between players mainly due to disputed calls by a referee. This led to suspension of inter-parish games for a few years. However, many church youth continued to practice and play at their own church. A consensus was reached that participation by individual churches would be voluntary.
[quote style=”boxed”]Sports are important for children and adolescents growing up in America.[/quote]
More supervision by coaches and strict rules of conduct were to be observed, such as the following:
- A league would be organized and coordinated by a well respected Deacon who was an avid basketball player (later became Priest).
- Prayers before games.
- Training at each church as for time and place is left up to them but tournaments are to be held at the end of summer.
- Boys’ teams at various levels e.g. Junior High, High School and College are formed where the number of participants from each church warrants. Girls’ teams are also encouraged to join with their own teams.
- Two Churches in the same vicinity can join forces if there are not enough players in either church.
- One person in each participating church would be responsible for communication, transportation, uniform purchasing and coordination with other Churches.
- Gym Buildings in the community can be utilized for the games, usually for a small fee and is preferable during the summertime, as no church has an indoor gymnasium.
- Schedules, teams, rules and results are posted on the website of the Diocese and are updated regularly.
- Trophies are awarded at the end of the tournaments for winning teams in a celebration, usually attended by the Bishop and several Priests.
This sport is less popular than basketball, but has grown steadily over the past few years. A league was started in 2005 following the same guidelines as the Basketball League. This League is organized by a Priest who is a good player himself. There are youth teams as well as adult teams. The number of participating Churches is increasing at this time.
This sport is played by children and also adults who recently came from Egypt. Due to the much larger field needed than basketball or volleyball, it is played mostly in community parks. There are a few organized teams with tournaments being arranged at present.
Many sports are available in local communities and not connected to the churches. These include baseball, bowling, ice hockey, skiing, swimming and others. Many Coptic youth participate individually.