Playing with a purpose was the mission for eight Open Door Christian Schools basketball players, who traveled to the Dominican Republic for a week in June through Score International. The team spent time helping paint and do other cleanup projects at the facility. They played local teams on the nearby outdoor court and ran a basketball clinic. “It was a full week and very meaningful,” says Todd Wright, boys varsity basketball coach. His son, Carter, the Patriots point guard, shares what it was like to play, serve and connect with kids his age living in a very different place.
It was interesting to see the God that I worship be worshipped in a different country and in a different language. They were so passionate, and it was really upbeat.
We helped the pastor with some projects like painting bedframes they made for mission groups to sleep in at their church. I really enjoyed hanging out with kids who were my age and talking to them about life and serving alongside them.
They care so much about relationships — they are always trying to please others. One time, we were walking back from the basketball court to the church, and it was raining. One of my teammates said, “Man, I wish I had an umbrella,” and immediately the other player’s reaction was, “Hey, do you want to wear my hat while we walk back?” It shows how giving their people are, even if they don’t have the resources.
We played basketball on a concrete court with bleachers made out of stone, and it was like a community event every time we played. All the kids in the area showed up, and they’d watch us warm up. They wanted to watch us dunk. One time in the game, we converted an alley-oop so that was exciting for the crowd. They were tough teams to play — they gave us a fight. They can shoot, they are super-fast and they defend well.
There was so much this trip taught me and is still teaching me. It changed my idea on what it looks like to show love to others. The people in the Dominican Republic love unconditionally, and that was impactful for me to watch and follow that example. Another thing it taught me is to be content with what I have, because those people were a lot happier and a lot more content with what they have, and it is significantly less than what I’ve been blessed with. — as told to Kristen Hampshire