Pomfret Recreation Department holds basketball program

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Tue., Jul. 26, 2011
Jan Koivisto watches play from the center of the court. Photos by D. Coffey.
Jan Koivisto watches play from the center of the court. Photos by D. Coffey.

Justin Rapose towered over the third and fourth grade boys playing basketball in the Pomfret Community School on July 21. A small forward for Woodstock Academy’s basketball team, Rapose stood three feet over some of his charges. That didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the boys. They swarmed around him when he got the ball. They used his body as a block. When he fed them the ball, they charged down the court with it.

The boys were taking part in the Pomfret Recreation Department’s summer basketball program. For three weeks, boys from grades one through nine came to practice basketball skills and to play.

Jan Koivisto has been running the program for the past three years. “I try to do drills, but keep them fun at the same time,” he said. Koivisto stayed close to the center of the court, as the boys moved from one end of the court to the other. With a whistle around his neck, he was able to stop play whenever he needed to.

Koivisto played basketball for Plainfield High School and went on to play JV basketball in college. He gave up playing to coach when he realized he preferred coaching. He spent 10 years coaching high school basketball with Rapose’s father.

“I like having Justin there, because sometimes the relationship between an older guy and the kids can be a little different,” Koivisto said. “He’s more fun than I am. He actually plays a little ball with them. That helps a lot. He knows the game. I can have him working with a few kids, and I’m comfortable knowing that he’s showing them the right stuff.”

Tiffany Gould watched her son, Jacob, run up and down the court. He had been asking her to join the program for a while, Gould said. With all the hot weather we’ve had, there wasn’t a night he didn’t want to go to the gym to play, she said.

The boys' program ended on the 21st, but the girls' program slated to start on July 26 will keep Koivisto and Rapose busy for another three weeks. The differences between the boys and the girls doesn’t seem as large as it once did to Koivisto. “I think the girls have started to become so competitive that there really isn’t much of a difference any longer,” he said.

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