Commercial Appeal , February 6, 2014
After registering 110 youth basketball teams, Memphis Athletic Ministries concluded its milestone 21st Annual Christmas Classic Tournament on January 4th. The Classic serves as the ministry’s primary fundraiser and reaches over 1,000 kids and their families during the tournament.
In the eighth grade championship, Coach Ronald McClain’s boys from White Station Middle School defeated the Cordova Middle School Cougars 58 – 45. However, the game to watch was the eighth grade middle school girls’ final. For the second year, the Memphis-area Home Education Association (MHEA) girls took home first place. After coming back from behind in the final seconds of regulation, the MHEA girls won the game in overtime 39-34 over the Snowden Lady Greenies.
MHEA Coach Tracy Rice had only positives to say about the tournament. “The MAM Christmas Classic is a great tournament because it brings together the top middle school teams in the area from city schools, county schools, private schools, and homeschool students,” said Tracy. “The tournament is a lot of fun, has great competition, and also provides a positive message of God’s love as MAM staff share a verse and a prayer at each game.”
The tournament’s Most Valuable Players were Trey Davis, White Station Spartans, and Kylie Loadholt, MHEA Lady Eagles.
All proceeds from the tournament go towards the after-school mentoring programs that MAM provides for more than 700 youth after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. MAM offers these programs through 11 neighborhood youth centers in disadvantaged communities throughout urban Memphis. The ministry offers various sports programs and leagues for youth to participate in such as basketball, soccer and golf.
MAM, still, is much more than sports.
At each neighborhood center qualified staff help boys and girls with their homework, teach financial literacy, lead Bible studies and work to instill spiritual growth and personal responsibility in each youth. MAM’s goal is to develop youth into spiritually strong, productive adults who positively impact their families, their neighborhoods and Memphis.