Changing Lives Through Sport – Shell Twilight Basketball

Adam came along to the very first session we had on the 5th September 2014, he was a quiet young teenager who was accompanied by his older brother.  As Adam continued coming weekly he began to develop into a not so quiet boy; he was excessive in his use of expletives and disregard for the coaches.  He would often comment on decisions and drills as well as get involved in disputes that he was not part of, just to start trouble.

After one specific incident, Adam was asked to leave the session. When he returned, Adam was open and apologised to the coach he argued with, explaining that he was having a difficult time at home, but he didn’t want to discuss this further.  Adam again had an issue with the session when he turned up to the session after taking drugs, he was asked to leave and the police were contacted for advice by the coaches who were on the session. Adam continued to not listen or engage with coaches or show respect at the session to participants or youth workers. The next week Adam returned and took part in a quickly organised Educational Timeout (ETO) on drugs and safety.  Adam took this seriously as he was surprised by some of the facts and figures that were shown as well as some of the experience that the coaches had from their employment outside of Twilight.  This seemed to be a turning point for Adam and he became more open about home life and the things that he was feeling.

Over the next year Adam became a staple to the group, someone who was always in attendance and also someone the new, younger participants looked up to.  His younger brother started to attend and it was easy to see the admiration the boys showed for one and other, due to the age they had 30 mins cross over time with sessions that they loved.  It was this that showed Adam’s gentler side, the side that would develop into who he is now as a man.

Adam began approaching me in the sessions and asking to speak to me about his life outside of basketball.  We discussed his home life, how to be safe, keeping a mentality that is focused and sign posting places to go for additional specified support.  Adam shared that he has been self-harming to cope with the stress of home life, to this I offered guidance and support on being safe and the danger points and areas of self-harming but also that there are people who know a lot more than I do and perhaps he should visit a drop in for advice or his GP. Adam took the advice on board and continued sharing by letting me know that he has moved out of his house because he was struggling to live with his Mum and step dad, their relationship was straining on his own with his Mum.

After a few weeks , Adam came to tell me he has now got furniture for his flat as well as doing some shopping, he was struggling to eat but was standing on his own two feet and this was allowing him time to see his family. His relationship with his Mum was improving and he was starting to see a light in what had been a very dark and lonely place for him.  I expressed my regard for him that he had developed so much from a teenager ready to fight for nothing to a man willing to stand up to what he saw as important and the ability to do this whilst maintaining his mischievous grin!!!  Adam seemed quiet at my praise and shy at the fact that I had seen him grow, though it was clear to see he liked the fact that I noticed how much he’d grown.

“Shell Twilight Basketball has been a family to me; It is the only place I can go to release all my stress and hardships. As soon as I step foot on the court all my worries fade. Andrew, as well as all the coaches at my session, have helped me through all my crisis. I am greatly thankful to all the people that made Twilight happen, and to all the coaches and people that attend”

– Adam Wilson

It overwhelmed me and changed my whole concept on the impact we have on these kids and young people who attend the session, we are not there to simply coach a sport. We are there as a shoulder to lean on, to offer knowledge and support, to be a role model and most times to simply listen and praise the smallest efforts.  To someone who doesn’t hear it often, nothing will make you stand taller than when you hear it from someone you look up to.

Adam is now volunteering at the session and has been accepted into the Army after going through the interview process.


  • Andrew McCandlish, Coach at the Stranraer Shell Twilight Session