BY: Jeremiah Harrison
ST.THOMAS — The faint echo of balls bouncing on the court is heard over the chatter of players as teams warm up in the gym at the University of the Virgin Islands “Annual Basketball Bush League.” Players gather from all communities of the island in hopes of enjoying the game of basketball.
UVI’s Basketball Bush League was started by a young man named Jedd, whose purpose to begin the league was as he put it “Just for something to do.” Even if it started as simply as that, it is now on its second year and is creating a good buzz for young adults on island.
The event is definitely a needed relief for college students who love the sport and need to release pent up energy in their leisure time. Participants include the university’s alumni, current students, and young men from the many communities in St. Thomas.
St. Thomas definitely has a problem with young men finding things to constructively do with their time. The island has limited things for young male adults from the ages of eighteen to mid-twenties to get involved in. For Jed to begin this bush league last year is an amazing accomplishment even if it is just as simple as basketball.
I had a chance to speak with some players who participated in the league, as well as Jed who began the league to ask them questions that would help me get a better feel for what I was witnessing.
My first question was to a team who came out to watch the competition. Their game was scheduled for another night. I asked them how the officiating in the tournament has been so far. “Really good,” they said in unison. When I asked them what has been the biggest difference in the tournament since it began a year ago, they agreed that the officiating was better, that there were more teams involved, as well as better competition.
I asked some friends of mine who were sitting next to me how have the games changed since the playoffs began. “The officiating has been consistent. There hasn’t been a change in the games,” they replied.
More and more people from outside the U.V.I. community come to watch the games and cheer for their friends and family who participate. The games are held in the Sports and Fitness Center at the university on Monday and Wednesday until November.