Friday, February 18, 2011
For more than 50 years, the Biddy Basketball program has given some basketball hopefuls a start at the game. Now, the Salvation Army is benching the program and many are now left with only memories.
"It's sad. We respect the decision but it's been great in looking back where we've come from. It's been a great competitive environment for the kids to play a very high level of basketball," said Diane Tauscher, Biddy Basketball coach.
The Biddy Basketball program used to be only game in town but other programs have sprung up in the past few years. During it's most popular season, the program had 250 teams but today, they are down to 60.
"The dwindling numbers of those who were participating of course is a big part of it. It just is telling us that the need isn't there as it used to be. There are other opportunities in town. Our battle is not duplicate services. Our opportunity is to do best with what we've been entrusted with," said Salvation Army City Commander Major Douglas Rowland.
Biddy games have been played at a stand alone building behind Parklane Shopping Center since 1994. Builders Inc. provided the space for courts rent free.
"We're very sad that this tradition is going to be ending. They are going to be giving the building back to us and we don't have any plans for the building at this time," said Michael Garvey, Builders Inc. President.
The Wichita program will end after the post season ends next week.
Wichita Salvation Army Biddy Basketball is a youth basketball league for boys and girls ages 14 and under. The program has produced some of the city's top basketball players, including NBA players Darnell Valentine and Maurice Evans, as well as NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.