Sometimes it can take a long time for a dream to finally come true.
Other times it can seemingly happen in the blink of an eye.
The latter is the case for former York High standout Seth Leonard, who only recently realized his vision of bringing semi-professional basketball to York.
A former player in the Eastern Basketball Alliance with the Harrisburg Horizon two years ago, Leonard had been trying since then to bring an EBA franchise back to his hometown. While it seemed like it would never come to fruition at times, things quickly fell in place over the past month or so.
As a result, the University of South Carolina-Aiken graduate can now call himself the proud owner of the latest team to join the EBA. The team, the York Mighty Ants, will bear the same mascot of the school in which it will play its games, New Hope Academy, in downtown York.
"After my basketball career ended in South Carolina, I was looking to further my career," Leonard said. "So I played for the Horizon in Harrisburg and that's where the idea -- to bring a team to York -- is rooted from. I saw what the Horizon did in Harrisburg and thought that I would love to see a team like that in York."
The path toward that appeared to be long and dark after Leonard finished up his stint with the Horizon. He's been trying ever since to start a team that he envisions becoming both a contender for championships as well as an important part of the community.
"It was a crazy process," said Leonard, who will own the franchise as part of his company, Kingdom Abound. "But we hope to become a great asset to both the league and the community."
Fortunately, Leonard said he's been blessed with a supportive group of family, friends and mentors who have helped him along the way. His fiancee, Erica Isennock, a former standout at Susquehannock High School, including a first team all-state honoree in girls' volleyball back in 2005, deserves a lot of credit, according to Leonard.
"Erica has played an intriguing part in getting this organization started," he said. "She's wearing a lot of the hats as far marketing and being director of operations. It's similar to the owner of the league, Richard Anzolut. His wife, Cynthia, plays a similar role for the league. Erica has been a really terrific person in all of this."
Now Leonard is hard at work getting his team built in the little time he has before the season-opener at the Horizon at 2 p.m. Sunday. While no official contracts have been signed for players, you can figure Leonard will be involved somehow.
Playing again was one of the main reasons the former Bearcat great had for starting the team.
"It was my desire to create my own job after struggling to find professional playing opportunities state-side the past two years," he said.
Whoever the Mighty Ants ink to contracts for the upcoming season, attending the team's home games figures to be a bargain, according to Leonard. He estimates that tickets for adults will, at most, be somewhere around $8 at the 350-seat venue.
"One thing I wanted was to create was some momentum early," Leonard said. "I think it is more cost-effective to have a smaller, but crowded gym with lots of hype than a bigger place with a lot of echo. But in years to come we are definitely looking to play at some high-quality gyms or bigger venues."
The caliber of competition in the league may surprise some. While it is a big step below the NBA, the league is a lot more than 'street-ball' according to Leonard.
"It's a tough league," said Leonard, who noted that former NBA stars have played on teams in the past. "Everybody who plays is good."
For information about the team and the Eastern Basketball alliance, visit http://www.easternbasketballalliance.com.
-- Reach Ryan Vanderloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.