Youth basketball leagues return with park dept. help

Thursday, December 5, 2019

After a one year hiatus, the kindergarten and first grade basketball league is returning to Poplar Bluff’s First United Methodist Church.

“We did it for 20 years,” said the church’s David Stewart, “but with staff changes and new flooring, it didn’t work out last year. We’re back up and running this year.”

This time, however, the Poplar Buff Parks and Recreation Department is getting involved.

“What we’re going to do is be the support system for them,” said Park Department Director Lanny Corcimiglia. “We’re going to take registrations and help them do the scheduling.”

That, Stewart said, makes for “a great partnership.”

The league, Stewart said, is all about teaching the children how to play while also fostering their spiritual side.

“They not only learn how to play, but they enjoy playing as a team,” he said. “The joy you see in their eyes as they do something for the first time is so great.”

Corcimiglia agreed, saying “It not only gives the children something to do, it gives them a feel for playing a sport that teaches them a lot of coordination and listening to directions.”

At halftime of the games, Stewart said, devotionals will be held for the young athletes to participate in.

Registration for the league is expected to begin in mid-December.

“We’ll get the forms out to the schools on Dec. 18,” Corcimiglia said.

Athletes also may have the opportunity to register online at the department’s new website,, once it is up and running.

Registration will continue through Jan. 10, with games beginning on Jan. 27.

The cost of the league is $20, which includes a T-shirt.

“The neat thing about it is they’re going to have three weeks of instruction before the season,” Corcimiglia said. “Everyone’s going to get the chance to have six sessions in before they go at it.”

Games will be played on Monday and Thursday evenings at the church gym and will continue through early March.

“It’s such a blast to watch them play and to interact with the kids,” said Stewart, who also serves as a referee.

Questions about the league can be referred to the church at 573-785-1439 or the Park Department office at 573-686-8645.

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