Terry Lynd Court closing in on fundraising goal
November 15, 2023, 10:39 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
It’s amazing what can plans can transpire while shooting hoops.
Earlier this year, Leo Ilustrisimo and Jeff Skulmoski were both playing basketball when the idea of a full-size outdoor court became the topic of conversation.
“It was a project that the Filipino community was thinking of doing quite some time now,” Ilustrisimo explained, adding that by his estimation, such a fundraising effort might take upwards of three years to complete. Given that gargantuan task, gathering the money for such a facility just seemed so out of reach.
But that serendipitous basketball game brought two like-minded individuals with a shared goal together. Skulmoski had the same notion about an outdoor court and decided timing was of the essence.
“So we thought, there’s no better time than now to start working towards a project like this,” he recalled.
After making phone calls and various meetings, enthusiasm for the project began to snowball—to the point that the projected costs of the new court is within reach.
“Jeff took all that initiative, getting that part of it started, he contacted the contractors and we got the price of around $110,000 to raise,” Ilustrisimo said. “That was our goal was to raise $110,000. And right now, I think we’re about $105,000.”
There’s still plenty of room for those interested in backing the worthwhile project to make a donation, which can be made at the Town of Moosomin. An added bonus is that the donations are eligible for a tax receipt.
“I’ve been really overwhelmed with how quick the support, how the money came in,” Ilustrisimo said.
Plans for exactly what the court will look like are still formulating, but both men concurred the end result will be something lasting that the community will be proud of. They’ve been researching other similar outdoor courts, painstakingly comparing materials used and what features would be best to include.
Basketball a life-long passion
For Ilustrisimo, the desire to build the basketball community in Moosomin has ties that run back to his childhood.
“When I was growing up, it was the only sport - there’s only one professional league back then in the Philippines, which was the PBA—the Philippine Basketball Association—so kids were drawn to play basketball because it was televised and there was no other sport that had the professional league,” he explained. “So every kid was playing basketball.”
Seeing more youth on the court than in front of a screen is the goal for Ilustrisimo.
“It’s a big part of the Filipino community, basketball is one of the big sports that we always play,” he said. “And we’ve been noticing that the younger Filipino kids are hanging out on the old basketball court and the Filipino community has been growing in Moosomin.”
The increased popularity is something Skulmoski is excited about as well—especially the opportunity for youth in Moosomin.
“When I go and watch the games, there’s everyone’s involved—it’s fantastic! We never had that when I was young,” he said. “If you wanted to play after high school, you had to be in the city.”
Kin Park to be new home
There is one space in town that the group has their eye on for a location of the new outdoor basketball court. Kin-Park, beside the pool is the spot everyone seems to agree would be perfect. The Town has been adding infrastructure to the area such as playground equipment and picnic tables, for example, and an effort to draw more traffic to the area.
With the excitement building for the new basketball court, Mike Schwean, Director of Parks and Recreation with the Town of Moosomin, was also keen on the idea.
“This is a great opportunity to get them out and about, a chance to play,” he said of the eager young basketball players. Future infrastructure in the vicinity might also include an outdoor fitness centre and an area for soccer.
Skulmoski and Ilustrisimo agreed that the proposed court ought to be named in honour of Terry Lynd given his immense contribution to sports in Moosomin- especially basketball—over the decades.
“Terry Lynd spent a lot of time coaching and hauling kids around, not just basketball, but all sports,” Skulmoski said. “He spent a lot of extra-curricular hours doing that sort of thing. I think that the naming of the court is well deserved.”
Construction is slated to begin in the spring - just in time for summer activities. Both youth and adult leagues are planned plus the idea of hosting basketball clinics as another way to develop the sport.