Thirteen Muncie Central high school basketball players gathered behind the registration table as volunteer staff during the 2020 ICE League Draft Day, talking with an ease and comradery that only years of friendship and being teammates can produce. Two common threads tie this group together: a love of the game and an appreciation for the ICE League.
Not too many years ago, these thirteen once stood on the other side of the registration table during a time when they were middle school students hoping to gain a spot in what was a new academic-based league for the Muncie community.
Today, years later, they stand taller and wiser, offering a perspective on the League that only they can as veterans of the experience. As they stand together in a semi-circle before entering the Muncie Central gym to lead middle school students in the same Draft Day drills they once executed, their friendly talk with one another becomes more serious as they answer how they have seen the ICE League impacting students.
They answer quickly, genuinely, and with energy:
“It gives kids confidence.”
“It gives all kids the opportunity to play.”
“It helps students who aren’t already on a team stay motivated to keep their grades up.”
“At the end of the 8th-grade year, some students received scholarship money for having the best grades and that was good.”
“It encourages you to do your best and do the best you can in school and basketball.”
More answers start to come as the gym doors open, signaling its time to launch Draft Day. They pass through the doors and onto the court as the role models they have become to face the younger students who are watching them from the bleachers awaiting their instructions.