Celtics Host Clinic with Doc Wayne Youth

WALTHAM, Mass. – Images of Celtics history, the 2007-08 championship trophy and windows displaying the practice court downstairs served as the backdrop for 20 girls from the Doc Wayne organization Friday afternoon in Waltham, Mass. Doc Wayne works with youth who have severely challenging behaviors, emotional disorders, substance abuse issues and been the victims of complex trauma.

Part of the therapeutic curriculum these youth participate in centers around sports-based experiences. Thus, the group was on-hand for a skills clinic at their favorite basketball team’s practice facility.

Once all the youth were in the Hall of Fame room, Celtics Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn welcomed the group.

“It’s nice to see you all today,” said Meyersohn. “We’re excited to host a skills clinic at the very same place our players practice every day. Because they’re on the road, we were able to have this opportunity. Make sure to take in your surroundings and enjoy the event.”

Following Meyersohn’s warm welcome, the youth were introduced to Celtics Legend Dana Barros. Additionally, each took a photo with Barros and the championship trophy, receiving an 8X10 photo to keep as a memory of the day. Their eyes lit up after seeing their photos.

The girls then moved from the Hall of Fame room to the gym. Sitting in a circle on the court, the youth listened to encouraging words from Barros.

“I always love talking to youth because I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what circumstances you’ve had to endure. Your past doesn’t have to define your future. I’m living proof of that,” said the former 14-year NBA player. “I grew up in Mattapan and always had dreams of playing basketball. People said I was too small and I would never make it to the NBA, but I just used that as motivation to get better. Education was also important and no more so than my freshman year in high school. I got a scholarship to go to a private school and play basketball there. I was starting on the varsity team and playing pretty well. I was doing well on the court but I was failing math. One day I was sitting in the back of math class and my mother walked through the door. I knew I was in trouble because she was in curlers and my mom never left the house in curlers unless it was important! That day she made me clean out my basketball locker and tell my coach that I wasn’t playing until I improved my math grade. I didn’t play again that season. I tell you all this to let you know that we all have obstacles to overcome but set goals and work hard to make them become a reality. You all can do anything you put your minds to.”

It was apparent Barros’ words resonated among the group that listened intently. At the conclusion of his speech, the youth divided into six groups to work on their basketball skills. Barros ran one station that helped with shooting form. Another station focused on ball-handling, while another worked on layups. By the time the youth had completed all the stations, they were out of breath but smiling broadly.

The event ended with a full tour of the practice facility before the youth left. Coaches from Doc Wayne expressed their gratitude and how the youth would never forget the experience. More importantly, they would take Barros’ words with them and set goals for the future.