Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Have you heard about the DONS Basketball League, the DBL?
Durham community organizer and Campaign 4 Change founder, Otis Lyons aka Vegas Don, has organized a FREE, basketball league for youth ages twelve to sixteen. You can volunteer or your son or daughter can register to play on-line at www.carolinadons.com <---Warning loud, obnoxious music at this link...
The league, the brainchild of Vegas Don, stemmed from his initial creation of a single free youth traveling basketball team. Although the team, The Carolina DONS, were two time tournament champions and the kids involved had tons of fun last year, Vegas was crushed when he had to turn away more than fifty kids after tryouts, because only twelve could be recruited for the traveling squad.
This year Vegas has solved that problem by constructing an entire youth league. There will still be an elite, traveling Carolina DONS team, but there will also be eight additional teams. Each team has a local business sponsor, which is providing their team with uniforms and all the components to run the league. Except for the referees, the league is staffed entirely by volunteers, most of them recruited by Vegas Don’s non-profit anti-gang, anti-drug organization Campaign 4 Change.
The league’s games will be played at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club at #810 North Alston Avenue. Sponsors include the league’s official sponsor, Capitol Broadcasting Company, and the team sponsors: Fox 50, the Law Office of James D. Williams, the Triangle United Way, Bull City Renters, Dreamworks Motorsports, Harris Incorporated, NCM Capital, Hendrick Durham Automall and Campaign 4 Change. Each sponsor has contributed to make the league free for the youth, with no cost to parents either.
But believe it or not, that isn’t even the best part. Wait, what? NBA Style basketball with great uniforms, announcer-commentators, live DJs, halftime entertainment, a league draft and a cool league website all FREE for youth to enjoy and none of that is even the best part?? That’s right, because as entertaining as it will be, like Campaign 4 Change’s other productions, Vegas prioritizes educating our youth over everything else.
In this case, that means mandatory community service projects for all players in the league. It means weekly educational workshops before games. And Vegas is serious. Kids who miss workshops aren’t eligible to play in the first of half of that week’s games, miss more than two and you are out of the league entirely. And these aren’t just any workshops, they are given by local luminaries, educators and public officials on important topics like, “The Law and You,” “Conflict Resolution,” and “Gang & Drug prevention.”
It also means following the league principles which include “Being respectful to elders and parents,” “Being a positive role model,” “Being loyal to your team,” and “Finishing what you start.” Volunteer coaches strictly enforce the league’s conduct principles, valuing brotherhood and sportsmanship over a win-at-all-costs mindset.
It is a win-win for all youths, their parents and our community.
For more information please check out their website at www.carolinadons.com or contact the league Director, Vegas Don at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone #919.519-8156.
Tryouts will be held May 5th and 6th at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club at #810 North Alston Avenue. Players must pre-register on-line to try-out.