SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — In just one hour on one Thursday afternoon a week, Tony Passarella is confident he can get area kids excited about learning the game of basketball while simultaneously imparting some life lessons to go along with knowledge of proper dribbling, passing and shooting techniques.
With the established success of his Youth Basketball Instruction summer program, which kicked off its sixth year in a row at the Pacific Park Community Center and tenth overall on June 24, the veteran instructor may indeed be on to something.
"I love the game, but my thrust here is to make a difference in the lives of these kids," said Passarella, whose love for youth coaching goes back to raising his daughter Heidi, a standout girls' basketball player at Hoover High in the late 80s. "I get their attention with my skill in shooting baskets and I bring energy and enthusiasm and excitement, but my main purpose is to make a difference. I try to be a role model and influence and point them in a positive direction and reinforce what their parents are already telling them."