By Michael Coughlin Jr.
Queen’s and King’s of the Court, a free 3v3 basketball league that began last year, is amidst its second season and is providing fun and competition for kids throughout the neighborhood.
Last year, Victoria Dostie and a few other residents got together and decided to put the league together to give the kids at the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Development in Charlestown something to do.
“In our area — where we are at in Charlestown — they closed down the local pool, there’s not many things for the kids to do for free, and our development is actually being torn down and redeveloped as we speak,” said Dostie.
“So, there’s really limited things for the kids to do, and the only thing that we really do have is a basketball court, and that’s basically where all the kids meet up, and everybody just hangs out,” she added.
Initially, Dostie wanted to create the league a few years ago, but COVID struck. However, after the loss of the pool and the redevelopment of the area, she got some other residents and the kids together, and within a month, Queen’s and King’s of the Court was born.
After a successful inaugural year in 2022 with over 60 kids participating, the league has started once again.
Games are played on Sundays at the Charlestown BHA Development on Bunker Hill Street at the basketball court from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the league is slated to run through August 20.
Kids age nine and up are able to play in the games. Moreover, there are three players per team and a substitute for the times when someone cannot make it, and the games are in a 3v3 half-court format up to 21 points.
Records are then kept leading up to a championship where the kids can win some awesome prizes. Last year, the winners received sneakers, and all the kids involved received participant trophies.
Dostie said she has talked with someone about potentially getting sneakers for the winners again and plans to give out trophies again this year too.
Another amazing aspect of the league is that there are also things for the kids who might not be old enough to play in the games. The league allows community members to set up tables with educational, physical, or craft activities for the younger kids.
The tables not only give some of the younger kids in the area something to do, but they can also offer educational and job opportunities for the older kids.
“Last year, I had somebody come out, and she does construction … The younger kids can actually play with the tools and get a feel of what the tools were and give opportunities for the older generation to be able to sign up and get involved with and get jobs or training opportunities,” said Dostie.
If all of this was not enough, the league even feeds the kids every Sunday while they are playing — for free.
Remarkably, everything that has been put together through this league has been from the pockets of those who have created the league or from donations from the community, and the league is actually in the process of becoming a non-profit.
Although Dostie said she did not expect the league to turn out as great as it did last year, she described it as amazing.
“To see the amount of kids that come, that reach out to us and that it help keeps them motivated to do better, you know, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Dostie.
“I am a single mother of three daughters, so for me to start it and be able to give my kids as well as other people’s kids somewhere to go that’s safe, where there’s adults that they can reach out to,” she added.
“It’s great to see like that we have something that our youth are able to be themselves at as well as being comfortable and safe and not having to worry about anything.”
Regarding the future of the league, Dostie sees it going far — she hopes the league gets to a point where the kids can travel to play.
As this year’s rendition of the Queen’s and King’s of the Court basketball league continues, Dostie made it clear everyone is welcome, whether that be kids looking to play or someone looking to volunteer.
Dostie did note that the league is always looking for referees and DJs to play music during the games. “Anybody can come volunteer — anybody can come play,” she said.
“I highly suggest anybody that wants to [play or volunteer], to definitely come stop by — they don’t even have to send me an email or anything — just come by and come talk to us, and we’ll even place you in right then and there if they want,” said Dostie.
“We want everybody to know like this is an open thing for the community. We want everybody in the community to be able to come and join and help. That’s what we want; that was our purpose, you know to give not just the kids but the whole community as well something to look forward to,” she added.
If you are looking to learn more about the league, make a donation, volunteer, or more, you can email [email protected] or visit its Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100084345114632&locale=hi_IN.
“We’re hoping that the people that do come, that they have a fun time and they continue to come back with us because we want this to continue for as long as we can,” said Dostie.