Saturday morning panther gym was set for a day filled with
"We have a total of
300 kids that will be participating in our opening ceremony," said Ruben
Esteves, Athletic Coordinator, City of Lufkin."
32 teams took the floor during the Lufkin Little Dribblers opening
ceremony, boys and girls from ages five to 14 geared up for six weeks of basketball.
Athletic Coordinator for the city Ruben Esteves says the program
continues to grow each year, last year there were 230 players this year they've
increased by 70.
"Our kids have
extended as far as age group and number of the amount of teams we have for the
city," said Esteves.
President of the league Charles Bennett said for coaches and
players practices and games are about more than just basketball.
"Sports are very important
in a kid's life and the faster they get into sports they learn discipline, they
learn leadership, they learn teamwork, they learn skills that will help them
later in life," said Bennett.
Throughout the history of the program many of the players
continue throughout their high school careers today varsity athletes gave these
young players a few words of encouragement.
"We bring in former
players , players on the varsity level that come up through our league so the
kids can see that with hard work they can also be on varsity and also succeed
in their goals," said Bennett.
And officials hope their example will help each player to
reach their full potential on and off the court.
Each team practices twice a week and play games on Saturday.