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Richmond Police Athletic League

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Apr, 2018

Staff Spotlight: Officer Virgil Burton

Today, one of PAL’s sponsored basketball teams, the Dream Chasers, are heading to the AAU (Amaeteur Athletic Union) State Championships. We caught up with one of the Dream Chaser’s Head Coaches, Officer Virgil Burton, to see what he thinks about the chances of the team winning it all and the impact of sports on youth development.

Officer Burton has been coaching for the Dream Chasers for two years, which he says has been a highly rewarding experience.

“It’s a give back for me to give the kids an opportunity to experience certain experiences through the game of basketball,” Burton said. “Life lessons, team building, and just giving the kids a chance to be a part of something positive.”

Playing at an AAU level is highly competitive. Burton said he is always scouting for players with the right skill set and determination. Teams like the Dream Chasers travel all up and down the east coast and practice at least three times week. Burton said that the team has been working very hard to prepare for the upcoming tournament. Whether it’s strength training, core and leg work, cardio, or simply developing key fundamentals, each player invests a lot of time into sharpening their skills.

Last year, all of this hard work really paid off. Burton said that fellow coach and overseer of the Dream Chasers, Donte’ Henderson, led his 5th grade team to victory at the National Championships in Fort Lauderdale. A PAL sponsored team from Richmond was the number one team in the entire country.

With success like this, Burton said that he thinks it is highly possible for a child from Richmond to make it all the way to the top with the right guidance.

“They [the kids] just have to be guided positively all the time. Someone has to have their hands on them--so to speak--to actually guide them in the right direction with decision making, and just really being a good father figure type, role model, positive example, and expos[ing] them to different experiences in life that actually motivate them to want to work hard and to be successful.”

This guidance extends off the court as well. Burton said aside from learning life skills from the game of basketball, the children also stay involved in their community. WIth so many children left in unfortunate situations, Burton said he encourages his players to not take life for granted, and not take the game of basketball for granted.

“At the end of the day it’s really their decision,” Burton explained. “But if you have someone that’s influencing you to get to that decision, then that helps too.”

by Taylor Peterson

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