Another basketball court in Kagman underwent transformation, providing village residents with a safer and more accessible facility.
The Kagman Community Center basketball court and its other features were painted and improved through the combined efforts of the office of Rep. Leila Staffler and Rep. Richard Lizama, the Lady Rollers, Rollers Basketball Club, Rotary Club, and other volunteers. The transformation was done last Saturday as part of the two lawmakers’ support to the Public Private Partnership initiative of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. The Precinct 5 representatives also restored the Kagman II court in partnership with Socho Basketball Club, K-Rollers, and K2 Ballers players and coaches and the village’s residents.
“Our partnership with the NMI Rollers organization, which includes the Lady Rollers, started from the outreach job done by head coach Joe Diaz. It is through his network of teams and players that we have had the volunteer support for all the basketball court projects so far. We also did flyers to encourage any other interested community members who wanted to be a part of the projects,” Staffler said.
For the KCC court, Staffler said the Lady Rollers wanted to get involved since they have been using the facility for their regular practices. Joanne Aquino of the Saipan Mayor’s Office and the Rotary Club of Saipan also volunteered for the project.
“I love that volunteerism is a value that is cultivated by our sports teams. Having our young female players support this effort is an example of how community service allows people to connect to their community in a deep meaningful way which can be transformational. Now every time they drive by or play on the court, they can have pride knowing they were part of that project,” Staffler said.
Lady Rollers coach and former NMI national team member Marlene Lumabi said seeing the transformation in various basketball courts across all villages in The Marianas will definitely encourage more players, especially the youth to come out and play.
“It is an incredible moment for many basketball players. Growing up, I would play at public courts near my house. Though the court itself was not at its best shape, with net-less hoops, dimmed lights, faded paint, and rusty boards, it did not stop my friends and I from playing basketball. Now, it’s great to witness the improvements being done. I feel grateful and excited because people who enjoy the sport can benefit from these improvements,” said Lumabi.
The Lady Rollers coach, who also sits on the Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation board as a director, added they helped out in the PPP project not just to have a better facility to play, but also to instill values to their young players.
“It is more than just playing the sport, but coming together as a team to encourage others in our community to help improve the islands. I really encourage other clubs to get involved. By showing up and helping in these various projects, we are setting the example for future athletes to promote a safer and accessible way of playing basketball,” Lumabi said. (PR)