If you’re not balling in the classroom, you won’t be balling on the court. It’s that simple.
The young all-stars in Tony Richards’ “No Books No Ball” program know this. That’s why they can’t wait to show off their report cards and academic rewards during the marking term.
They want to play. They have to play. And as long as they maintain a C average in school, they can.
Since its inception in 1990, parents from all over the state have been vying to get their kids a spot. Everybody wants dibs — so much so that every October, when registration opens, Richards isn’t surprised when capacity is reached two weeks later.
With 23 years under his belt as founder and executive director, Richards is just glad to see the program thriving and touching the lives of the city’s young people.
It’s all he’s ever wanted.
“[We were] trying to educate the kids on the importance of academics partnered up with athletics,” said Richards. “I never really realized … the program would be operating this long.”
As a parent and active community member, Richards recognized a need for an outlet that combined aspiration, achievement and athleticism while shielding kids from the potential perils of the streets. Seeing none, he created “No Books, No Ball” — never once dreaming it would be such a treasured jewel in the community.