BEHIND THE SCENES with Katie Davis

How did you know enough teenage guys to start a basketball team

People are always asking me how I "find" the kids I work with or get enough to make a basketball team. These kids seek me out. Why? I am a self appointed godmother to many kids in the neighborhood. I hang out in the community park and at the basketball court and kids stop by all the time to sit on my porch, get a Band-Aid or to see if I have a tire patch. I run a bike program and a summer camp, so I am known. You should also know that I have some basketball credentials because I have been sponsoring a community basketball tournament for eight years. It's called Hoopin' in the Hood, and some people know me as the tournament lady

How did it feel to give up on your initial ideal -- to enjoy playing more than winning

When I began to realize how much I wanted to win I was slightly embarrassed about all the times I had told the kids, "play the game just for fun." After I experienced a drive to win I felt that I understood the kids better and now have come to believe that the key is the balance between having fun and winning

Who was changed more

Me. Definitely me. Although I do think the guys began to hear certain things I was saying about teamwork and attitude

Can you really coach and motivate players "with heart?

Again I think balance is the key. If you just have heart and no "skills" then the guys won't respect you. If you have skills and cannot connect with the kids or be passionate about the game, they will write you off too. I think I get props for having heart and knowing just a tiny bit about the game. Getting props means getting respect -- getting your "propers." I get props too for doing what I say I am going to do; that is, if I say I'll have practice every Thursday, I never miss

Had you planned to do a radio story about the team from the beginning? If not, when

The first few practices I had no plans to do a story. In fact I had never, at that point, recorded any of the kids I was working with. But I found myself talking about it a lot at dinner and to friends and I knew there was a good story there. I took my machine a few times and then decided to do a story. So I began to think about it as a story about one month into the season

How did the players feel about being taped

The players were okay with the taping. A few were more willing to do interviews than others. I actually didn't do many interviews at all. I taped every game though and wrote a lot after games. The guys acted "uninterested" in the taping." You have to understand, these are 15-, 16-, 17-year-old guys and they are standing around shooting hoops, trying to look like Iverson or Jordan. They are way too cool to spend too much time interacting with me or any of the adults. I was there to organize them, wash their uniforms, and keep things moving forward. I think they liked it that I thought their team was interesting enough to tape and do a story on

Did you have a second season

I had double the amount of kids than I needed for next season. My team has grown and keeps growing. Kids are coming up to me now (last night I was hanging around the court with the guys) and asking about the winter league -- hey can I play for you? It's not that we have such a great team, but they know that if I say I'm going to have a team, I will have it. D.C. Recreation always lets them down. I am consistent, I have rules for the team and I keep them. That's what they like. They also are not good enough to make their school teams

What happened to the kids in the story

Two are freshmen in college. Another two dropped out last spring but are re-enrolling and want to play for me in the meantime. And three went to Guatemala this summer to teach Mayan Indians basketball skills.