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The Bruin organization is dedicated to teaching our youth the fundamentals of basketball and sportsmanship, enabling then to develop their physical skills as well as establishing lifelong friendships with their teammates. We believe that life lessons learned from basketball will carry over to their personal lives instilling communication, discipline, integrity, commitment, responsibility, loyalty and respect. We provide children in our community an opportunity to learn and develop these traits in our basketball program, which is provided in a safe and positive environment.
Parental involvement is instrumental to the success of our organization. Together, we provide the opportunities for all of our participants to develop with the hopes that in future years, they will continue this Bruin tradition.
Above all, we encourage all of the Bruin players and families to enjoy and have fun!
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Pasadena had a baseball league called Pasadena Japanese Athletic Association, or PJAA for short. This league was comprised of boys ages 9-11 participating in the sport of baseball. This was the only organized Asian sports league in Pasadena at that time. There were no organized Asian leagues for girls or for basketball. There were not enough boys in each age group so the PJAA baseball league consisted of boys of mixed age groups. Over the years, the number of teams dwindled to only 3-4 teams. Realizing that it would not be too much fun for the teams to just play each other over and over, a group of parents got together and decided to join the Community Youth Council, better known as CYC. The pioneers of PJAA’s transition to CYC consisted of June and Ken Hayashi, Robert and Alice Kikkawa, Kaz and Hatsumi Kitani and Tak and Shinobu Kiriyama.
One of the first things that this Pasadena organization needed to do was to come up with a name. The board members decided to ask the children for ideas. Among the many names suggested was the Pasadena Bruins. It seemed only appropriate that this was the name to pick because in the early 1950's, Pasadena competed under the Bruins name in the Nisei Athletic Union (NAU) league. And with that , the Pasadena Bruins were born. Fund-rasiers were planned in order to raise money for registration fees, equipment and uniforms. Frank and Marian Sata personally solicited donations from the Pasadena community to help defray the costs.
Initially, the Bruins participated in CYC baseball only, before expanding into basketball. Their initiation into the CYC basketball league consisted of 6 boys teams from the ages of 9-14 and 2 girls teams in the junior and senior divisions. Ed Fukutaki, June Hayashi and Robert Kikkawa were instrumental in organizing the girls division of the Pasadena Bruins in the Japanese American Optimist (JAO) league. At that time, most of the participants were members of the Pasadena Buddhist Church and because of that, an agreement was made with the church to use their gym in return for assisting with the church’s functions. A monetary donation was also made to the church, monthly for it’s use and to defray the cost of the electricity of the gym.
Every year, the CYC organization presents 2 awards: the Hideo Kunitomi and the Eddie Shimatsu Awards. These awards are given to a high school senior with outstanding athletic and scholastic abilities. The Pasadena Bruins should take pride in the fact that over the years, it’s organization has produced not only 1 or 2 winners but multiple winners of this award.
The Pasadena Bruins now supports over 20 boys and girls teams from 7 years old through the prep division. Their organization continues to grow and prosper. Three years ago, the Bruins decided to start giving back to the youth in a different format and now hold an annual scholarship golf tournament where past participants of the Bruin’s organization are recognized for their community involvement as well as their athletic and scholastic achievements.
Many of those children involved as players in the first few years are now parents with children of their own participating in CYC and JAO. The second generation of Bruins is now participating in the various leagues. Pasadena's involvement in the CYC and JAO organizations enabled many children to participate in a wide scaled sports league. This early exposure to team sports has helped shaped the lives of many children, some of whom today, as adults, still continue to play organized sports through NAU and SCWAU (Southern California Women's Athletic Union.
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