Hoops and hope, the Medford basketball league


Clara McComb, Editor

Every Thursday from mid-January to mid-March the gymnasium at Powhatan High School and many other high schools in surrounding counties fill up with excited students ready to cheer on their very own Medford league basketball team. Watching Medford basketball games is a favorite part of many PHS student’s days but the origins of this league and the message behind it is what really makes it special. 

The Medford league started in the 1970s in Chesterfield county as a way for special needs and disabled students to get involved in sports. This league forms basketball teams of disabled students that wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to play a sport like basketball and lets them compete against other teams in no pressure, fun games. 

The league got its name from Zipporah Taylor Medford, the first principal at Richmond’s special education school, Hickory Hill (Daily progress.) The league began as a field day between Hickory Hill and another special needs school. Seeing how much the kids enjoyed playing basketball on that first day led to the development of the Medford league. 

The best part of the game is that it’s not all about winning, it’s just about having fun. Former Midlothian High School Medford coach David Brohl said in a statement to CBS 6 that, “The only reason we keep score is so that the kids see when they make a basket, they get to have points on the board. Our record was whatever it was this year. I couldn’t even tell you because it doesn’t matter.”

This great cause brings so much joy to the students participating in it as well. James River high school coach told CBS 6 “This is what they look forward to the most out of their entire year,we start school in September and they start asking me ‘When do we start basketball?”

These unique teams hold practices during their PE classes with the help of gym teachers, special education teachers and peer mentors that volunteer their time for a good cause. The encouragement and support of the entire student body and community is truly a beautiful thing to witness.

It really opens everyone’s eyes to the possibilities and what can be there if you just try.

— Cindy Gay, Clover Hill High School Medford coach

Our Powhatan Medford league most recently took on the Meadowbrook monarchs. The teamwork and joy radiating from students on both teams was truly contagious. Medford basketball games are always a joyous and positive aspect in our school community.