Playing Basketball & Volleyball in a Church League
The Connecticut Eastern Orthodox Basketball League (CEOBL) was established over 40 years ago as a way for Orthodox children to become part of a team, representing their home parish, and play in a league with other local Orthodox communities. Over the years it has grown to be one of the better run leagues in the United States – it is not without flaws – but the individuals coaching and the athletic directors from each of the parishes involved, constantly strive to make the league a fun place for the children of our communities to play.
How is the League set-up?
The teams of the CEOBL compete in four divisions open to both boys and girls: Youth Division (10 years old and younger); Junior Varsity (13 years old and younger); Varsity (High School Seniors and younger) and a Senior division for those over the age of 19. The teams practice on Thursday evening at the Holy Infant Gymnasium (at least until the Saint Barbara Gymnasium is completed). We also have girls Junior Varsity (13 years old and younger) and Varsity (14 years old - High School Seniors) volleyball teams that compete in the CEOVL. The volleyball teams practices (again, at least until our parish Gymnasium is completed) at the Connecticut Sports Center, located at 21 South Bradley Road in Woodbridge.
When do the teams play?
The CEOBL games take place on either Saturday or Sunday from the weekend before Thanksgiving thru February, while the CEOVL games take place on Sunday from late December thru February. No games are scheduled on Sunday before 1:00 pm so as to provide all involved with the leagues to attend the Divine Liturgy and other parish functions together with their families.
Where do the teams play?
Games take place at the following gymnasiums: Holy Trinity, Bridgeport (this facility currently serves as our home court as well); Annunciation, Stamford; Archangels, Stamford; Holy Trinity, Waterbury; and Holy Trinity, New Rochelle.
Benefits of participating in the League.
The friendships; it really is that simple. Our children will have an opportunity to further develop their friendships with each other while at the same time meeting other children or young adults their own age from other parishes. I encourage you to ask anyone of our parents who participated in the league when they were younger about the friendships that they have maintained through the fellowship and competition that the league offers.
Why does the Church sponsor Athletic Leagues?
From our youngest age, we find ourselves in various competitive situations that will challenge our patience and perseverance. In school and even in the workplace we are often called to work together with other individuals, often times in a highly competitive situation. Will we remain true to our values and faith? Will we have learned how to be gracious in both ‘victory’ and ‘defeat?’ Will we have learned how to be competitive and still keep our integrity intact? The experience of all the Youth Ministry Programs of our Church, including the athletic teams can only assist in providing us a strong foundation as we continue to grow and mature.
Game On. Faith On.
Direct Archdiocesan District Olympic Games
In the Spring of 1978, the Youth Department of the Archdiocese expressed a desire to expand the Archdiocesan District’s athletic program beyond basketball. His Eminence, the late Archbishop Iakovos, gave his blessings to the idea and a committee of clergy and laity was formed. In May of 1979, the inaugural Junior Olympics for the Archdiocesan District was held at Queens College. Eighteen parishes participated. In the ensuing years, the Olympics grew with much enthusiasm and interest. With more of our youngsters participating, events had to be added. The initial one-day program has turned into a three-day event during the Memorial Day weekend.
The Olympics have continued to flourish since His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, was enthroned as the Archbishop of America in 1999. In 2007, the Olympics moved to its current location at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, Long Island. In 2012, over 1,300 children from 26 parishes, participated. The Olympics are open to boys and girls, 7-18 years of age and active in their parish’s youth program. Events include:
Swimming (50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle Relay)
Soccer (Boys Team, Girls Team)
Softball (Co-Ed Team)
Volleyball (Boys Team, Girls Team)
(5om Dash, 200m Dash, 400m Dash, 800m Run,
1,500m Run, Relay: 4 x 200m, 5k Run)
Field (Shot Put, Softball Throw, Long Jump, High Jump)
Board Games (Chess, Checkers, Ping-Pong, Backgammon)
Tennis (Boys, Girls)
Basketball (Boys, Girls)
3x3 Basketball (Co-Ed Team)
The following additional events are available to those who are 12 years old and younger:
Track (50 Yard Dash, 4 x 50 Yard Relay)
Basketball (Around the World)
Board Games (Nok Hockey)
Field (Standing Broad Jump)
Swimming (25m Freestyle, 4 x 25m Freestyle Relay)
Kickball (Boys, Girls)
Great and Holy Pascha; Jeremias the Prophet; New Martyr Maria of Fourna, Mirabella in Crete; Saint Tamara (Tamar), Queen of Georgia; Nikiforos the Monk of Chios; Synaxis of the Three New Righteous Martyrs of the Holy Mountain, Euthymius, Ignatius, and Acacius
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