McClymonds girls championship basketball team stars in ‘I Just Wanna Ball’

by Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden

During the year 2013, the McClymonds High School girls basketball team became a powerhouse. Within a two-year period, they went from a program known for decades as a loser to winners of Oakland’s athletic league, the first since 1976. What they accomplished on the court was definitely staggering, but the bigger breakthrough was off the court.

McClymonds High School Girls Basketball Team 2013The personal hardships these girls had to face were countless: from the murders of friends and siblings to being the caretaker of a mother who has the HIV virus. It’s a lot more than any teenager should have to navigate through, and, for them, life and games take on a different meaning.

Basketball is a breath of fresh air – an escape, a safe haven. It gives them a chance to avoid the trappings of the urban environment that await so many young women. Basketball gives them focus and a chance to maintain a GPA above 3.9, which these girls have been doing their whole championship year.

And these girls have no plans on giving in or giving up now on themselves or life. Basketball takes them and will take them to a whole different world. If you ask them what it is they wanna do, their likely response would be “I just wanna ball.”

As I sat in my cubicle at work and read the article about McClymonds girls championship basketball team, I was completely blown away by their strength, courage and determination. The triumph of their journey was inspiring and a beautiful portrait of the essence of the young women who come from Oakland and are often looked upon in a negative light.

Basketball is a breath of fresh air – an escape, a safe haven. It gives them a chance to avoid the trappings of the urban environment that await so many young women. Basketball gives them focus and a chance to maintain a GPA above 3.9, which these girls have been doing their whole championship year.

I knew at that moment I had to take all the resources I had and get this amazing story to as many people as I could. I had been looking for a project to launch my directorial film debut and here it was. I can truly say that I am honored and blessed to be a part of this project.

I am asking now that the community get behind these young women and support this film and help me bring this amazing story to the screen.

The goal of this project is to let the world see a beautiful rose as it grows from the concrete. Our hope is to find assistance within our community for these young ladies as they pursue their education and to assist them in maintaining a positive life while becoming successful, shining examples in our communities.

Please log on to http://igg.me/at/IJustWannaBall to view the trailer of “I Just Wanna Ball,” a heartfelt, uplifting experience that everyone needs to see. Your contributions and donations will be a small investment into our future.

Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden can be reached at fleetwood_189@hotmail.com.