Local communities got together Saturday evening in an effort to stop the violence through communicating on the basketball court.
Atmore played against East Hill, Malcom Young Center vs Cobb Center, Roy Jones All Stars vs Kia Auto Sports, Pepsi vs B.I Entertainment, Cantonment vs Gulf Breeze.
Our goal is to get each community familiar with the other community. That way, when strangers meet, they are no longer strangers but now have something in common. This is one of the ways we stop the violence in our neighborhoods, said Bill Marshall organizer.
So far, it appears that the program is working. “We have seen so many people now talking to each other outside of their neighborhoods. Never would you have seen Cantonment people talking to Gulf Breeze people, said Marshall. But, when they meet on the court, there is no rich or poor, Black or White, big or little. All that matters is teams working to get that ball in the hoop.” He said.
Marshall has been instrumental in community affairs on the grass roots level since 2007. We first started doing these events once a year. But since violence escalated, he’s now doing events once a month. “Often I get requests from businesses and people to be able to come and settle their differences on the court.” And after the games are over, they’ve left the courts feeling that its settled.”
The games bring all age groups; from infants to grandparents. Everyone comes to enjoy a good rival game.
This Saturday’s entertainment was provided by two young dance groups; Swagg Divas, who performed for the first half time show and the Royal Divas, who performed for the second half time show.
The Swagg Divas, under the leadership of Tamika McKinstry gave an awesome performance. These ten young ages 7 -17years, danced to the hot sounds of Wet My Hair and Lip Gloss by Lil Mama. These young ladies showed that tireless practice does bring rewards.
The Royal Divas under the leadership of Tarsha Williams, took to the courts stepping in sync to the song Dume Ga-Ga by Wu-tang. As each group of young ladies stepped out to perform (ages 5-10, 11-12, and 13-17 years,) it was apparent that they worked hard to perform their routines.
The Royal Divas will perform again 6pm at the Clash of the Titans game, Saturday at Woodam High School.