Meadowview Middle School’s fifth annual Hoops for Heart is an example of a local type of March Madness benefiting all participants.
Meadowview Health and Physical Education teacher Patricia Jones explained the basis of the fundraiser for the American Heart Association (AHA) is a basketball tournament where students can pick and choose their own teams.
The tournament was rescheduled to begin shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday and ended in final elimination games in the boys and girls divisions. The winners in each division got to square off against the faculty team.
“It’s really exciting,” commented Jones. “The final game is played in front of the whole school with the top two teams playing the faculty.” She explained that participants raise money to be on a team. Teams may have no more than four players on a roster who regularly play basketball on school teams. She said the tournament routinely raises between $1,500 to $2,000, which is donated to the AHA.
“We are trying to keep the competition even and get as many to participate as we can. Even before Christmas they (students) start asking me about Hoops for Heart,” said Jones. “This is coordinated with our class unit in basketball. If some kids don’t want to be on one of the teams, they can raise funds for prizes.” She said top fundraisers also are honored.
Jones said another component of the tournament is linking lessons about fitness and health to the Heart Association’s ongoing mission of “building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”
“We go into a lot of detail such as the signs of heart disease because many of these children spend a lot to time with their grandparents,” said Jones. “This really brings it home to them about why it’s important to be aware. They need to understand this could involve various family members. This (heart disease) is one of the top killers across America. It fits in to what they are learning about fitness and why they should be active.”
She explained many local physical education teachers are dealing with health issues such as obesity in students, which mirrors a national trend. One of the challenges for them is to instill in students healthy habits they carry on both during and after school. She said Hoops for Heart is not only about knowledge though.
“It’s a big celebration. Hoops for Heart brings us together as a school. Students support and cheer their teams on,” added Jones, who credited much of the success of the tournament to fellow organizer Josh McCrary. “The students are absolutely crazy about seeing their teacher’s play. Really, it’s a time of no pressure where we all get to play for the joy of playing.” She said teams get to decide their own name and design their T-shirts.
Jones also praised the effort of Heart Association volunteer Ginger Edmiston, who provided educational materials and videos on heart health. She said one recent development that touched the organizers of the tournament was a group naming their team Samantha’s Heart in honor of local teen and heart patient Samantha Riggs. The team’s jerseys had a picture of Riggs incorporated in the design.
She said Hoops for Heart’s original concept has remained the same since it began years ago with equal parts celebration, education and competition.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.