Boys basketball team volunteers
The members of the Tonganoxie boys basketball team have to do more than play basketball to letter.
Coach Mike Webb said he wants his players to grow as young men in addition to improving as athletes.
To that end, the players are expected to complete community service as a requirement for lettering.
"Besides playing, I want them to be involved in community-minded work," Webb said.
Two recent trips have given the players exposure to life outside of high school.
Sunday, 16 team members worked with members of Sacred Heart Catholic church to serve a meal at the Willie Gill Community Center in Kansas City, Kan.
"People from the church prepared the food, and then we went and served it and got everything ready for them," Webb said.
Scott Breuer, a senior on the team, had been to the soup kitchen before. He said it's neat to see the team work together in a situation other than on the basketball court.
In January, the team visited the pediatrics unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"We had 100 percent participation," Webb said.
All 24 members of the basketball team made the trip. They donated Nintendo cartridges to the hospital for use by children staying there.
The funds for the cartridges came from the entrance fee students paid at a basketball scrimmage in November.
Brett Becker, a senior on the team, said the team met a girl with leukemia and a girl who was paralyzed.
He said it was nice that the team was able to do the activity together.
The boys have also attended a junior high boys game together.
"We want the junior high kids to realize we care about what they do," Webb said.
The activities should send the message to the players that life is about more than basketball or sports.
Webb asks the young men to dress up for the service activities, and they take them seriously.
Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures Sunday that would have drawn many young people outside to enjoy the day, the people who went to the soup kitchen appreciated their experience.
"It was well worth our time going there," Breuer said.