Magic show keeps on playing
WHEN the fear of losing an entire basketball club became a reality for coach Gavin De La Cruz, he knew he had to act fast to save the sport hundreds of young kids love to play.
With his community basketball club, the Western Magic, facing a do-or-die scenario after parting ways from their former home, Mr De La Cruz took it on himself to make sure the teams would flourish rather than decline.
What he did next truly shows how dedicated he is, not only to the sport, but to its young fans, their parents and spectators.
He poured some of his own money into the local community project with his wife and started running a four-on-four competition and family basketball night out of St John's Anglican College in Forest Lake.
"Basketball is really big in the Forest Lake and western suburbs area, and I wanted to make sure the kids had somewhere to play," he said.
"We struck up a really good relationship here with St John's and they have allowed us to play here on Friday nights and on Saturdays."
Following the fallout from where the club used to play, Mr De La Cruz wanted to ensure the public that the Western Magic Basketball Club was indeed still running, and is always looking for more players to come and join its junior and senior teams.
"We have a number of teams that play under Western Magic, from juniors right up to seniors," he said.
"But we want people to know that we are still here, and we are thriving, especially when many thought that we wouldn't.
"We had a lot of people saying we couldn't do it, and run our own competition and club, but just look at us now.
"We are stronger than ever, and we want the community to know that."
In light of making it on their own, Mr De La Cruz has also started his own hashtag, GDC Fitness #ProjectNo2Know which he uses to inspire the young kids in his community.
"The whole idea behind the hashtag is to change negative thoughts into positive ones," he said.
"It's stop telling me, 'No, I can't do it', because I know I can and I will show you.
"We find this really relevant, especially after everything we as a club have gone through in the past year."
If you would like to know more about the club, contact Gavin on 0450169251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.