When a young person’s life is cut tragically short, it is important to remember who they were and how they impacted those around them.
Joshua Hernandez, a Byron Nelson student who died in a car accident returning from a soccer game three years ago, was the sort of young man whose positive attitude and friendly disposition brightened the lives of most people he encountered.
And thanks to the efforts of Higher Goals Basketball Club coach Thomas Poling and a few other Trophy Club residents, Hernandez’ legacy lives on through an annual event called the Live Like Josh 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.
The competition was set up to commemorate the beloved Nelson student by contributing the funds raised to a scholarship fund established in his honor.
Poling said that Hernandez’ memory is worth preserving in the community.
“Josh and his brother Jesse were coming home from a state championship soccer game,” Poling said. “They are twin brothers. It happened in the spring of 2012.”
The Hernandez brothers were both members of the Nelson basketball team, and Poling, whose daughter was in their class, decided to help start tournament.
“I was just trying to think of some way to keep his memory alive,” Poling said. “I thought of a 3-3 tournament. We are looking for teams of all ages. It is $60 per team, and you receive a T-shirt and a goody bag with that.”
Poling said that it is a non-profit operation and that all funds go to the Live Like Josh Foundation, which gives scholarships each year.
The Trophy Club resident said that students from second and third grade all the way through seniors in high school are invited and the competition is broken down into age groups.
“I want to keep it growing and keep Josh’s legacy alive,” Poling said. “He had a strong love of basketball. He was a great kid. He was really against bullying and lived a very Christian way of life.”
Poling said the competition featured 35 teams last year and the objective is to top that this year.
Poling said that if people want to help out but do not necessarily want to play basketball, they are welcome to volunteer to help put on the event and can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Poling said that he really hopes that people take away a few things from the tournament.
“I hope that people come out here and play and remember Josh and his love of basketball, and most of all the type of person that Josh was,” Poling said. “I hope that we can keep a person’s name and reputation alive who was really a good person and did things the right way.”
The Live Like Josh 3-on-3 Basketball tournament will take place beginning at 10 a.m. on Sept. 26 at Byron Nelson High School.
Visit www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=live_like_josh to register or for more information.