Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

To the kids at the school where I was a Playworks Coach, being a positive team player wasn’t always the popular thing to do. When I was tasked with coaching the boys basketball team, I learned quickly that I had my work cut out for me.

A majority of the kids had never played organized basketball before, but we had one month to practice before the first game of the season in a developmental league with other Playworks schools, and I was determined. I wanted to show them that playing as a team was the only way to win. Practices consisted of teamwork drills that challenged them to rely on each other, building rapport and trust.

After shaking off their first game nerves, the boys came out eager to show the crowd that they were a force to be reckoned with. For the first time in four years, our boys basketball team started the season off with a victory, winning by 24 points. As the season went on, we encountered different challengers that forced us to work as a team and rely on one another.

I told them from the start, teamwork will make the dream work. Their dream was their school’s first ever Newark Public Schools basketball championship title. We ended the season as one of the final four teams left in the playoffs, with a winning record of 11-3.
Although we lost that semi-final game to the team who went on to earn the title, the kids won in a much bigger way. They learned togetherness, the importance of defending each other, and the gratifying feeling of winning as a team.


Help more kids play on a team for the first time.

Donate today

More Stories of Play


kids and adults on tv set
kids and adults on tv set

Developing leaders on and off the playground ›

Before Playworks came to Gustavo’s school, he says recess was bland with just three options for how to spend the time. After Playworks came, there were actual games, regulations for games to make them consistent, a lot less harassment of people making fun of other people. “After Playworks, school felt like more of a safe…

The Difference a Caring Adult Makes in the City of Good Neighbors ›

“Schools are going weeks without hearing from kids. Calling it a tragedy doesn’t do it justice. Even if kids are safe, they’re still lost kids because they aren’t connected,” Tyler Davis, Playworks Site Coordinator in Buffalo, NY, explains about kids in the pandemic who haven’t been attending school virtually. At the end of the pandemic,…

Recess is Necessary ›

Researchers agree: it’s important to prioritize recess in how schools approach re-opening. The research community has come together to establish the Global Recess Alliance in an effort to bring attention to the essential role of recess during school reopening. These scholars, health professionals, and educational leaders agree that recess is critical for children’s physical and…

Stories from the Playground: Coach Hoops ›

It’s not every day that a Playworks #AmeriCorps Coach is honored by the Los Angeles Lakers, complete with a basketball clinic hosted by legendary forward A.C. Green. Then again, being treated to a center court awards ceremony at a Lakers game isn’t something a Playworks Coach experiences every day, either. But it’s her everyday actions…