A group in Davenport is giving kids in tough situations an opportunity to learn positivity through basketball.
They do it to live up to what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.
Beyond the Baseline held its 3rd Martin Luther King Day celebration today with basketball games for kids and adults.
While basketball took center stage, some want the games to mean more than just games.
“I know a lot of the kids that are struggling, know them personally, and know they’re no different from my own kids, essentially.” Gary Thrapp, who started Beyond the Baseline 13 years to get kids back on the right track.
“But it’s easier for them to head a different path and we gotta make it harder for them to head that direction and easier to head in a good direction.
Thrapp said that youth sports was the perfect way for kids to learn overcoming adversity, and for the adults in their lives to set a good example in reacting to it.
“How we respond is very important because our kids are watching,” Thrapp said. “So to use the message of Martin Luther King to our benefit today. That’s what it’s all about. And when we feel frustration, when we feel chaos when we feel hate, that doesn’t mean we respond with hate we should respond with love.”
One of the speakers, Frank Livingston, had previously been involved in street crimes and went to jail in the 80’s.
He said that since getting his life back on track, he’s tried to make sure kids don’t get in trouble like he did.
“It’s a humbling honor because I realize I don’t deserve to be doing what I’m doing,” Livingston said. “But since I’ve been given the opportunity to do it, let me take a serious approach and realize it’s not just an opportunity to be heard, so I can hear myself talk, but what is the message that I’m leaving that will impact someone else’s life, to make them want to do better, to want to change, and to be change in their community.”
For Livingston, the chance to speak at a Martin Luther King Day event is special.
He was the first African-American student to go to Prescott high school in Arkansas during integration.
And he hopes to perpetuate the positive influences and changes that he’s been shown in his life.