Mission Of Upward Sports:
Promoting the Discovery of Jesus though Sports
Play with purpose:
It enables everything we want to accomplish in developing young athletes,
Mentally: Making Wise Decisions
Athletically: Improving Physical Ability
Spiritually: Discovering Life’s Purpose
Socially: Fostering Healthy Relationships
Montgomery United Methodist Church, has been the host of this ministry for the past eight years. I have been the League Director for the past three years and look forward to many more to come. I’m excited about what God is doing in our community through this ministry. You can find more information through their website.
Dear Friends of Montgomery,
Have you ever had the opportunity to watch a child’s eyes light up when they have achieved a new skill? Watched how their confidence seems to explode right before your eyes? Felt the contagious eagerness they express to do it again, do it more, do it better? This is the spark that fueled the birth of Fundamentals of Basketball, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit program begun in 2011, with the goal of helping children 2-12 years of age develop the integral skills needed to play the game of basketball successfully, and so much more.
My name is La Taunya Pollard-Romanazzi, (aka: Coach). I grew up in East Chicago, Indiana where my childhood was spent in the alley in back of my family home shooting basket after basket into a trash can hung on a telephone pole. There were no fancy gyms, no neighborhood parks, no after school programs. From age five I can remember long afternoons in that alley where my skill and confidence developed. My competition was exclusively male and this heavily contributed to my success as one of the best female basketball players in the United States. Over the next two decades, I would see the game of basketball lead me to places and titles I had never dreamed of in that back alley. In the course of my four years at Chicago Roosevelt High School, I led our team to two state championship titles and was named Indiana’s Miss Basketball in 1979. Attending California State University of Long Beach on a full four- year scholarship, I established records that remain to this day, resulting in being awarded the Wade trophy for best college female basketball player in the United States in 1983. At 19 years of age, I was honored to be the youngest member on the 1980 United States Olympic Team, an amazing piece of history to be part of.
Above all these honors and opportunities, however, I count my greatest trophy in life to be my salvation through Jesus Christ, my risen Lord and Savior, and the grace He has freely and generously bestowed upon me. He has maintained my health and vitality as I continue to live a very physically demanding life. He has blessed me with three beautiful children and five precious grandchildren. He has given me a full life in Montgomery these past 15 years, building my reputation and establishing a flourishing ministry through Fundamentals of Basketball which allows me to train children physically, emotionally, and psychologically while reinforcing Christian character and values such as respect, kindness, teamwork and forgiveness.
As my ministry has grown, so has a vision that I now bring to you, for a year-round, indoor sports facility to meet the increasing population and interest in indoor sports in the Montgomery area. A quick survey will reveal the lack of adequate indoor facilities within a twenty-minute driving radius for not only basketball, but other indoor sports like volleyball and indoor soccer, and those available at churches and schools are already taxed to capacity. It breaks my heart to see children turned away from programs due to unavailable court space, resulting in families going to other communities. Montgomery is our amazing home and this safe space, with sound Christ-centered programs and supervision, is something we can and should offer our youth.
My vision, passion, reputation, and skills are the gifts I bring to this project; however, it will require “MORE” which I am hoping to generate through this writing.
I have no idea who this writing will touch or what the next steps will be for this vision, but I do know the God I have served and His ability to go above and beyond the dreams of a little girl shooting baskets into a trash can in East Chicago, Indiana. If you see yourself plugging into this project in even a small way, I am certain He will multiply that gift to bring it to fruition.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration,
THE GYM 15
On January 26, 2020, the world went silent as it learned of the death of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Both basketball fanatics and people who had never watched 30 seconds of a game mourned this loss, as if Kobe were a member of their families. Kobe Bryant was an exemplary athlete and set a great example for not only basketball players, but for anyone striving to be the best at what they do.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “mamba mentality,” but what does this actually mean? According to Bryant, who coined the phrase, it means to constantly work and strive to be the best version of yourself, to be better than you were yesterday. This type of mentality is important to have on and off the court. As shown by the tragic death of Kobe and the other victims of that crash, tomorrow is never promised, so we must always try to be the best versions of ourselves every single day that we have on this earth. My goal is to instill this type of mentality in every single child that I coach. I want them to strive to be the best that they can possibly be on and off the court. I want them to know that if they work hard and persevere, that they can be and do anything they want. We should all try to adopt the mamba mentality, because it can only lead to greatness!