NYer Of The Week: Joe Murphy Coaches Girls On Basketball Court And In Life
This week's New Yorker is helping aspiring female basketball players aim for hoops and high scores. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
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They are talented. They are dedicated. They are the Brooklyn Saints, an all-girls basketball team started to give these kids a better shot, on the court, at school and in life.
"There's a lot of money in boys' teams," says Joe Murphy, the coach of the Brooklyn Saints. "People go on and make a lot of money and now, they can contribute back into the community, which they do. We don't have that for girls. They don't really feel welcome. My wife played. She never wanted to come to the park because that's where the boys were."
Basketball changed Joe’s life growing up. After coaching boys for 30 years, he decided the girls of Brooklyn deserved the same opportunity. So, in 2001, he started the Brooklyn Saints.
"When I was younger, I was very shy and introverted," he says. "But basketball, it brings out a different side of me. It made me communicate well with people. Without interaction, I would never have been able to survive in the work force."
The Saints play in several tournaments a year, with fifth through eighth graders filling out the rosters. During weekday training sessions, Coach Joe encourages healthy competition.
"Right now, women are in the workforce. A lot of them are single mothers," Murphy says. "Especially in this neighborhood, you have a lot of them that are single-family homes. They have to go out and be competitive."
"When school is out, you get into this lazy type of mode and then all of a sudden, you have to gear up for September," he adds. "Now they are used to being up at 7 anyway."
It is a commitment that's producing more than layups and jump shots.
"It just makes me want to do better in school," says Saints player Victoria Salas. "If I don't do better, there is no basketball for me. My grades have improved. Just playing sports, they have improved."
"He makes us tough so we know that we can handle ourselves and be independent in the future," says Saints player Chloe Fequiere.
So, for teaching the girls of Brooklyn about hoops, health and hard work, Joe Murphy is our New Yorker of the Week.