Members of the Toms River North girls and Donovan Catholic boys basketball teams work with the TRBA's Challenger Division (TRBA)

When it’s at its best sports has the ability to bring people together in many different ways.

Fans from all different backgrounds find common ground in the teams they root for, those teams can unite a community and athletes have the unique ability to touch lives in so many ways.

Like I’ve done before I like to draw attention to members of the Toms River North girls and Donovan Catholic boys basketball teams for the active role they played this winter in the Toms River Basketball Association’s “Challenger” Division.

Members of the Toms River North girls and Donovan Catholic boys basketball teams work with the TRBA's Challenger Division (TRBA)

Mariners coach Vicki Gillen and Griffins coach Mike Kearney had players from their teams work with 30 special needs students over 8 Sundays from December to February at Silver Bay Elementary School.

Working with parents and other volunteers the high school players helped introduce the sport of basketball to the children and there was more than just dribbling, shooting and passing.  There was the development of a bond that was as beneficial to the high school players as the special children they were working with.

Victor Suskevich and Melissa Sorano are the directors of the TRBA’s Challenger Division which recently completed its 13th year and as it always does served a life lesson for all involved.  There are no scores and no losers, just laughter, smiles and winners.  At the top of that list are the student-athletes who gave their time to make a difference in the lives of others.

Like I said at the beginning at its best sports has the ability bring people together and this is just one example.

A postscript to this:  The Donovan Catholic boys had their season end Tuesday night with a loss in the NJSIAA Tournament while the TR North girls, after winning their first round game Monday will host Rancocas Valley tonight.  Good luck to the Mariners!

Members of the Toms River North girls and Donovan Catholic boys basketball teams work with the TRBA's Challenger Division (TRBA)