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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Why I'm coaching Moonlight Hoops at Douglass Park

By Karen Mitchell/Missourian
June 30, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Karen Mitchell, left, hands a T-shirt to team member KeJuane Johnson, center, as John Williamson (11) looks on Tuesday at Douglass Park in Columbia. Mitchell is one of the coaches for the city's Moonlight Hoops program at the park.

Karen Mitchell came to Columbia in July 2003 to attend MU as a full-time undergraduate and then master's student. She joined the faculty of the School of Journalism in 2008. Her background is in photojournalism, and she teaches convergence journalism. She no longer works full time in a newsroom.

Karen's first-person story follows, with photos and video from two of her students, A.J. Feather and Daniel Shapiro.

I don’t live anywhere near Douglass Park, but as a journalist in Columbia I’m well aware of the park and what it brings to the community. The park has a bad reputation, but there are also a lot of good things that go on there, too. One of them is the Moonlight Hoops basketball program. When I heard last week that the program might have to be canceled, I wondered why. The answer surprised me and encouraged me to contribute to the city in a way I never had before.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Moonlight Hoops basketball program, run by the city, has games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for three or four hours each evening. Karen Mitchell coaches the white team, sponsored by Columbia accounting firm Marberry & Eagle. Coaches and sponsors are still needed to accommodate the number of players who would like to play. The league, which was started by Tracy Edwards, Scotty Williams and Rodney Estes about 25 years ago, runs through Wednesday, Aug. 14.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.