The coach of a 10-year-old intramural basketball team which is not located on the reservation was not playing all the kids on the team. He was playing solely to win, including having his kid play every minute, and not developing the kids' spirits and teaching life lessons. Some of the parents complained online and offline and the coach just dug his heels in.
One of the parents, who is a former professional basketball player, offered to start a new team for the boys who were not getting a chance to play. At the time, the only opening for the kids to play in was a league playing against 14-year-old boys. His philosophy for his team was all the kids will get playing time and he wanted them to form a tribe with a supportive, cooperative, underdog mindset that says we may not always win, but we are going to give it everything we have!
Most kids that grow up to be successful, whether on or off the reservation, have this underdog mindset. Kids in our current society have to be better than good or else it’s almost by default they remain entangled in poverty and extreme hopelessness. They are usually going to considered underdogs by much of society. There are more obstacles and bigger expectations for them to being successful…but it can be done!
Role models are so important to the kids on the reservation. Role models serve to inspire the kids into higher levels of possibility. These kids don’t have to clone or do exactly what their mentors are doing, they simply need to reach higher for their own individual aspirations.
Many people off the reservation have never personally met a Native American, but they undoubtedly have stereotypes about people they have not met. Many of the kids on this reservation, as well as others, live in third world conditions and then they seem to be a David all of their lives.
But a glimmering of hope is starting to happen on the Fort Peck Reservation. Our group, Love Has No Color, along with many of our other supporters, has been going to the reservation and has been providing these kids with role models. There are more kids that are starting to make better choices and they are starting to help others around them.
We have witnessed kid after kid on the reservation that is willing to go the extra mile that it takes to become successful and turn around and help others. There is a new spirit that is awakening to help the kids help themselves.
In our 11th year we are seeing the next generation of Davids helping the younger generation to a brighter future of health, hope and dignity.
Every one of us can help if you make the commitment. From donations to participation, to supplies, everyone has an important part to play in helping these kids find their way.