LONDONDERRY, Vt. – Nothing lasts forever. After years of use, the backboards at the Flood Brook School gymnasium showed signs of wear and tear. “Both backboards on the main court were crooked,” says BRSU director of operations and Flood Brook girls’ basketball coach, Greg Harrington. “You didn’t get a true bounce off the glass.”
Equally important was that the gym serves hoop dreamers from kindergarten through eighth grade. The standard ten-foot rim for middle schoolers was way too high for the younger kiddos. To solve the problem, staff members had to bring extra backboards out of storage and hang them up on the bottom of the existing backboard, a cumbersome process that no one enjoyed.
As usual, in times of need, the Flood Brook Athletic Association stood ready to dish out an assist. For decades, the group has provided financial and operational support for athletic programs at the school. When the backboard problem became known, the FBAA teamed up with the school to purchase a set of new hoops that were installed this summer. The new backboards are properly aligned. In addition, they fit safely on a sliding track and can be lowered with a hand crank to the appropriate height for the youngest players – seven feet off the gym floor.
“This backboard purchase matches our mission to provide positive and rewarding athletic experiences for Flood Brooks students of all ages,” says Sarah Kiefer, president of the FBAA. In addition to basketball, the FBAA offers opportunities in soccer, baseball, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and dance team.
It’s not only the athletes who benefit from the new backboards, says Flood Brook principal, Neal McIntyre. The gym, with a stage at one end, also serves as a theater. The old backboards, which could not be fully folded up to the ceiling, left some spectators with an obstructed view of the stage. The hew hoops can be electronically lifted higher, creating a clear sight line for the entire audience. “Now everyone can see a performance,” says McIntrye, “and I can do a two-handed dunk on a real rim.”