For a number of years, the outdoor basketball courts at Holy Family Catholic Academy, Fresh Meadows, have been in poor shape. In fact, kids shooting hoops were always afraid that the rim might actually fall off!
However, that’s no longer the case thanks to a young parishioner and prospective Eagle Scout.
Dieter Borbeck III is a 16-year-old rising junior at St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows. He attended grammar school at Holy Family and is a regular at the parish’s weekend Masses. He also played Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball for the parish from fourth through eighth grade.
Holy Family does not have its own indoor gymnasium, so kids looking to shoot some hoops during recess had a difficult time navigating the dilapidated outdoor courts. In CYO, parish teams play their home games at local public schools.
As a Life Scout, Borbeck is one step away from becoming an Eagle Scout. To attain the rank, he needed to find an area of need in his community, develop a project idea, receive approval from the Boys Scouts of America and successfully raise funds to complete the project.
While attending Mass one Sunday, Borbeck listened attentively as Holy Family pastor Father Sean Suckiel mentioned in his homily that he wanted to host a free-throw shooting contest for the parish’s children during the summer.
From his days playing basketball, Borbeck had the brilliant idea to refurbish Holy Family’s outdoor courts as his Eagle Scout project. He presented a professional proposal to Father Suckiel, a huge sports fan and formerly a CYO basketball coach at Blessed Trinity, Breezy Point. Of course, Father Suckiel was totally on board.
“We were always a little scared that the basketball hoops looked a bit precarious,” Borbeck said. “They were really not the best at the time. I wanted to help out Father Sean so that he could have a good free-throw contest and a fun time with all the kids.”
Through speaking at Masses and setting up a GoFundMe page, Borbeck raised enough funds to begin the project. For three weeks, Borbeck — along with some fellow Scouts and their parents — painstakingly resurfaced the outdoor courts, put in new hoops with glass backboards, and painted fresh lines. The new court is looking fully ready for a Holy Family free-throw contest real soon.
“I’ve heard from some of the current students that they are very excited to play on it,” said Borbeck, who has already tested out the new hoops by taking a few shots.
“It’s a sign of evangelization,” said Father Sean, who is planning a full blessing once the Holy Family logo is painted at center court. “We can use sports to evangelize and speak about healthy competition and faith. The first step is reaching out to the young people. One way of doing that is through sports.”
While Borbeck may not use the court as much as he once did, his act of giving will ensure that students at Holy Family Catholic Academy have a safe place to play a game they love.
Borbeck’s leadership, sacrifice, initiative and professionalism in seeing this project through start-to-finish are all qualities that will make him a terrific Eagle Scout.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.