Another successful season of Upward Basketball will come to a close this Saturday, March 7 starting at 1 p.m. in the Waldron Nazarene Church gym. Fifty six participants ranging from pre-K through sixth grade will gather to play their final games of the season.
According to league director Harold Riedel, who oversees the program with the help of his wife Evelyn and their daughter Geneva, “this is our 12th season of Upward, and it’s been one of the best groups ever. We’ve had great coaches and the kids have played really well.”
The unique part of Upward, whose mission statement is “to serve Jesus Christ through sports,” is the devotions that take place during halftime of every game and practice session. Topics include self-control, commitment, joy, and there is an entire devotion on John 3:16.
The program is non-denominational, and is hosted by hundreds of different churches across the country. The Waldron program has had more than 700 participants since starting in 2008. Many kids have started at age four and progressed through the entire program. Harold Ridel stated, “it’s very interesting to watch them start out and improve each year they play. Many Upward players progress into school ball and have done very well. Upward is a great introduction to the game, as they learn while they play. We hope everyone will come out this Saturday to support the kids and enjoy the games.”
There is no charge to enter the gym, and there is a concession stand stocked with soft drinks, burgers, hot dogs, and candy. More information on the program is available on their Facebook page, Waldron Arkansas Upward Basketball.
Reverend Wally Beckman is the Pastor at the Waldron First Church of the Nazarene.