• Fort Carson, Colo.-Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, right, Fort Carson garrison commander, talks Anthony Twiggs, left, and Kyle Velazco after a simulated contest between McLaughlin and the two athletes during the opening ceremonies for the Fort Carson youth sports basketball program Saturday.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, right, Fort Carson garrison commander, talks Anthony Twiggs, left, and Kyle Velazco after a simulated contest between McLaughlin and the two athletes during the opening ceremonies for the Fort Carson youth...

  • Fort Carson, Colo.-Leonard Gant, right, fires a jump shot over a defender during youth basketball action Saturday at the post Youth Services Center.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Leonard Gant, right, fires a jump shot over a defender during youth basketball action Saturday at the post Youth Services Center.

  • Fort Carson, Colo.-Youth basketball players scramble for a loose ball during action Saturday morning at the post Youth Services Center.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Youth basketball players scramble for a loose ball during action Saturday morning at the post Youth Services Center.

  • Fort Carson, Colo.-Youth center basketball players surround an opponent during 5-to-6-year-old action Saturday at the post Youth Services Center.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Youth center basketball players surround an opponent during 5-to-6-year-old action Saturday at the post Youth Services Center.

  • Fort Carson, Colo.-Ketisha Johnson, left, Cavaliers coach, teaches one of her young players how to shoot the ball during warm-ups Saturday at the post Youth Service Center.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Ketisha Johnson, left, Cavaliers coach, teaches one of her young players how to shoot the ball during warm-ups Saturday at the post Youth Service Center.

  • Fort Carson, Colo.-Mary Ayers, center, Superstars cheerleaders' coach,  goes over cheers with her team as they prepared to cheer at the opening day of the youth winter cheerleading program.

    Fort Carson youth basketball tips off

    Fort Carson, Colo.-Mary Ayers, center, Superstars cheerleaders' coach, goes over cheers with her team as they prepared to cheer at the opening day of the youth winter cheerleading program.

FORT CARSON, Colo.---The tranquility that had been the Fort Carson youth basketball courts during the past two months gave way to an enthusiastic group of athletes, parents and supporters of the youth basketball program Saturday.

The winter basketball and cheerleading season got underway at 9 a.m. with the opening ceremony that saw Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, Fort Carson garrison commander, take part in a one-shot contest with two of the youth athletes.

The opening ceremonies was also the first chance many Mountain Post patrons had to meet the new youth sports director, Chad Jones, who began the season by welcoming all the athletes and parents and then led the adults in the parents code, which reminds everyone to let the youth enjoy the activities and promote sportsmanship at all times.

After the pregame festivities it was time to get down to the business of basketball for the players and cheerleading for the cheerleaders. The excitement of a new season seemed to be felt all around the building as the first group of athletes began its warm-ups for the 10 a.m. start.

Tim Patrick's son, Brylan, was one of the 5-to-6-year-old players that would take the floor to begin the season. Tim, who grew up playing youth sports, said basketball was a great thing for his son not just because of sports but for other reasons as well.

"I think it's very important for me to get my son involved with youth sports at an early age for a number of reasons. For one, he learns about physical activity at a young age. It also gets him involved with other kids that are in his age bracket who are black, white and Hispanic, and I think that is important (to understanding how to get along with all people). At this early age it's important to just get them active and hopefully it will carry over to his adult life," Tim said.

Seana Sites has three children that she and her husband keep active in youth sports. Sites said her favorite sport as a child was softball.

"I can't run very fast , so it was fun for me because I could hit the ball run to a base and then stop," she said. She encourages her children to play as many sports as possible.

"I think playing youth sports at a young age is important because it helps them learn how to get along with other people. My husband and I know how important sports were for us when we grew up. We think sports definitely helps you learn how to deal with different types of people and helps you learn how to be a team player. It also shows them how to get a group project done and how to get goals met," Sites said.

"One of the things that my older children have learned from sports is they have learned how to accept failure. They understand the concept of winning and losing and also I think they have made a lot of friends that they would not normally have met," Sites added.

The youth season will last until late March at the Fort Carson Youth Service Center.

Page last updated Fri January 29th, 2010 at 16:57