Life lessons from the West End basketball court

Posted at 7:32 PM, Feb 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-28 19:39:32-05

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--A packed Deep Run High School gymnasium. An electric crowd cheering for some super athletes. It's a basketball game that's about much more than putting points on the score board.

These Deep Run and Henrico High basketball players are all-stars, for sure. From the opening National Anthem played on the saxophone by one of the players, to the team introductions, these players inspire, excite and warm hearts with every dribble, pass and basket made and missed.

The mission: athletics and tolerance.

Their school day game draws a packed house. We even spot a top collegiate coach doing a little moonlighting, keeping athletes pumped up during the big game.

"The fact that the whole school is here and showing support and cheering for them, it's incredible and it's great for the athletes,"  Chris Mooney said.

Mooney is the head basketball coach at the University of Richmond. Thursday morning he was seated on the sidelines amid the players and coaches from Deep Run High. Proud dad Todd Stone says his son Nicholas loves being a part of the team.

"It's amazing to see these folks who work so hard getting the recognition that they deserve, " Stone added. Coaches and students say each game is a match-up with a mission.

"It's a reminder to all students that they need to be accepting of anyone regardless of color, religion, disability" David Kern said."Because everybody's got gifts and talents to use.

"We all do it differently and this is a celebration of everybody being able to play ball and I just love it," mom Anna Bingham added. The match-up was the final game of the season for the All Stars.

Everyone is sad to see the fun end, but all  agree the lessons learned here on the hardwood will last a lifetime.