As the basketball season drew near, basketball evaluations were held in the old City Gym. Everyone wondered would they get to play any games in the new gym this year. For two months, the kids worked hard practicing in the old gym, waiting for information about the upcoming game schedule. Finally, right before Christmas, the schedule was released, and all games would be played at the new gym.

Fast forward to the first week of January, and FINALLY, the teams were able to practice in the new gym. The new gym opened on Wednesday, January 3rd; practices were back to back every hour. The gym was able to accommodate six practices at one time between both gyms. As pictures were posted on Facebook of the practices, people were oohing and ahhing over the new gym! People who saw the pictures stated it was BEAUTIFUL and they couldn’t wait to get in and see it for themselves. From the new smell that greeted you when you walked through the door to the pristine, shiny floors that you could see your reflection in; the new gym was everything promised and more.

The opening day of the gym was Saturday, January 6th.  It was a super exciting day for sure and the Head of the Buford Parks and Rec Department, Ken Burge was there all day to make sure everything ran smoothly. He even stated that he had been so engrossed in getting the gym ready that he forgot his daughter’s birthday until around 10:30 a.m. Kayla, your father, looked horrified when he mentioned that.  We hope you had an amazing birthday.

There were 24 games played on Saturday; with three courts set up until noon for the younger kids and then two full courts in the afternoon for the bigger kids. Games started at 8:00 a.m. and finished at 3:30 p.m. Previously it would have taken all day Saturday and part of Sunday to get in this many games.

It seemed everyone was praising the new gym and you could sense the excitement felt by young and old alike. One spectator from Lawrenceville was in awe of the gym. She praised the City for investing in the youth of Buford, by providing this beautiful new gym.

Personally, I think the new gym is wonderful and meets the needs of the youth of Buford. I am proud to say my daughter will play her first season at the new gym. I can’t wait to invite family and friends to watch her play. As I stood and took in the area around me, I wanted to see what others around me were saying.

Etta Brown, the mother of a ten-year-old GA Tech player, said “The kids have been so excited about playing in the new gym. The kids deserved something nicer, and this is it.”

Bill Shirley, Assistant Coach for the Boys, 10-year-old UGA team, said “the best part of the new gym is the number of courts and the floor are great! With the way the city has grown, they needed the new gym.”

Buck Gammon, a parent of a player, said: “The new gym meets all of Buford’s high expectations and standards – the gym was well done.”

Burge said, “Everything went well. Our main concern for today was having adequate parking, but that has not been an issue.” All in all, it was a great opening day for Buford’s Recreational Youth Basketball program.  The gym will proudly serve our city’s children  for generations to come.

By Jill Smith

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