I understand your mission, but what do you do?

Pickup the Ball performs its outreach through various programs:

  • We offer transportation to and from the basketball court so that they can play as much as possible, and to keep them as safe as possible. We also offer members rides when available to school and work.
  • We hold meetings where they learn skills and information designed to fill gaps in their upbringings. Such meetings are often, but not exclusively, related to employment, secondary education, and relational skills.  These meetings are also opportunities for our members to meet people in order to develop their networking skills, and introduce them to people who may look at the world differently than they do.
  • We conduct events, often related to basketball, that are designed to be fun, social, and educational, to broaden their horizons and/or their connection to others in the community. These events also include fundraising events.
  • We provide personalized services on an as needed basis to members who may have a special need, such as tutoring or counseling.

What is a Teammate?

A Teammate is someone who has signed a contract in which they commit to wanting to improve their personal lives, their relationships, and their community.  The contract does not assume the person’s life is a wreck; instead, the items on the contract are points of improvement that anyone could agree to, regardless of their circumstances.  The contract also requires the Teammate to assist with fund raising and to perform community service.

How much does it cost to be a Teammate?

All services are provided to our Teammates free of charge.  There is no cost to become a Teammate.

What happens if I am a Teammate and I break the contract?

The contract is not difficult to honor, but it does require a change in mindset for some of our members.  Pickup the Ball works patiently with all members to help them achieve success in the program and all areas of life.  We do not demand perfection, but we do require effort.  If a Teammate, after being counseled, expresses no desire to meet the terms of the contract he or she signed, we will consider the Teammate to be on probation until there is a desire to once again meet the terms of the contract.  During probation, services will not be provided.  However, we will never turn our back on a Teammate.

Do you have to be black to be a Teammate?

While a high percentage of our players tend to be African American, there is no restriction on race or color.  All are welcome.

Can women be Teammates?

Women can be members, and since there tend to be fewer women than men on the court, there tends to be fewer women in our organization.

Do you have to be a good basketball player to be a Teammate?

You don’t need to be a good player – in fact you don’t even need to play basketball.  If you agree with the mission of our organization, and agree to the terms of the contract, you can be a member.  Just understand that many of our activities are basketball related, or have basketball and sports related themes.

What are the ages of young men and women in your organization?

You must be 15 in order to become a Teammate.  Most of our Teammates tend to be 18 or older.  There is no upper limit, but members over 21 will have a slightly different focus, demanding more maturity and leadership skills.

My child is 13 but has all the same needs as your Teammates.  Why can’t he join?

We appreciate the interest that girls and boys show in the organization, and we want to encourage that interest.  However, the programs and services we provided are geared toward older teens and young adults.  We would encourage anyone younger than 15 who is interested in participating to seek out a Teammate and ask them to mentor them.  Our Teammates are expected to welcome these types of mentorships, and they are highly encouraged.

I want to be a Teammate, but I have a lot of obligations, including school, work and family.  Can I join?

Pickup the Ball understands that you have many interests and obligations, sometimes conflicting.  We do not want to add to the stress in your life.  If you are making an effort to participate when you can, we will work with your schedule.  We want you to have school, work and family as higher priorities than us, and we will work with you to make Pickup the Ball a positive influence in your life.

Is this a religious organization?

We do not have a religious affiliation.  However, research has shown that our young people who are connected and active in a faith-based institution are less likely to be involved in harmful behaviors such as violence and drug abuse.  Therefore, we encourage participation in some kind of church or youth group where our Teammates can practice their faith and be connected with others who share their beliefs.

Are you a basketball league, team or a training organization? 

Pickup the Ball is not a part of a league, and does not currently have a travel ball team.  This is not a major focus of our organization.  We also do not provide basketball trainings.  It doesn’t matter to us if a player is good or not.  If this is a priority for a teammate, and we can connect them with a trainer, we will help with that.

Do you organize pickup basketball games?

The great thing about pickup basketball is that the players organize it on their own.  We don’t need to organize games, nor do we want to interfere with the culture of pickup basketball.  We respect this culture, and only want to support it.  We do provide rides to and from games whenever possible, because we encourage participation in it, and we believe our Teammates are safer riding home with us at night rather than walking home in the dark.