In the Lower Mainland basketball scene, there are plenty of organizations and people who dedicate hours and hours of time to grow the game and help young boys and girls dreams come true.
One of the most well respected and longest running organizations is RBL Basketball. Started back in 1997 by Richard Poritz & Russel Black, they are still going strong today with holiday camps during Summer/Winter Break/Spring Break and skill development Monday, Tuesdays, and Fridays during the high school basketball season.
“The reason for starting RBL was [Richard and Russel’s] sons played on a talented elementary school team in the local VSB (Vancouver School Board) league, and the group had a bunch of talented athletes on the team” said Blake Poritz, co-commissioner of RBL. “The school board league scheduled games for the kids to play but it had volunteer referees, as well as teacher coaches, some who were familiar with the game, others who weren't. [They] wanted to give more of an opportunity for kids to pursue the game a little more seriously.”
The goals for RBL have been the same from the start; teach kids the fundamentals of basketball while giving them lessons that will serve them off the court as well.
“Our goal with RBL has always been predicated around teaching kids the basic fundamental skills that is required in order to have success in the game of basketball” said Poritz. “We instil these skills through our skill development programs, camps, and our leagues. Our goal for the kids that come through our program is to have the necessary skills to play high school basketball.
We [also] put a strong emphasis on being respectful to coaches, teammates and opponents and therefore we feel that the kids in our program learn important life skills that extend well past their playing careers.”
As RBL has been around for so many years, their impact on the basketball community has been tremendous. Countless players who have come through the program have gone on to great high school and college careers, both here in Canada and in the United States. Some have even managed to go pro.
“Some players who have played in our program have also represented Canada at the national level, which is only becoming more difficult to do with the rise of Canadian basketball” said Poritz. “Although we love keeping in touch, and up to date with all the basketball success stories that have come through our program, we are just as happy when we hear about kids from our program going on to do great things off the basketball court.”
In terms of the future, RBL plans to continue more of the same — a place for young basketball players to develop their skills and love of the sport under the tutelage of quality coaching.
“We believe that RBL continues to provide an outlet for kids to play the sport they love outside of their school programs” explained Poritz. “We have seen the rise in popularity in the sport since we started back in 1997 and we will continue to do our part to help grow the game that we love.”
For more information on what RBL has to offer, make sure to visit their website.
Written by: Nick Bondi