Friday, November 8, 2013

Audacity of Hoops

On Saturday, November 2, 2013 an event of epic proportions occurred in downtown Silver Spring.  It was an event unlike any other that has graced the streets and sidewalks of this vital public square in Montgomery County, MD.

On this day over 150 youth and adults descended on downtown Silver Spring for the 3rd annual Audacity of Hoops Basketball Tournament.  The tourney features round robin play for high school aged girls and boys, along with adults who competed for championship and runner-up trophies.

Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Craig Rice at the Trophy Presentation
(Thanks to Carmen Camacho of Bud Miller Associates for the Trophies this year.)

The idea for the tournament emerged from a conversation that I had  in 2009 with Councilmember Valerie Ervin.  At the time there was a lot of talk, concern, and fear about the proliferation of youth violence across the county.   As a consequence, many of our public square/retail venues displayed increased police presence.  There was even talk about instituting a county wide youth curfew.  With these movements, an ugly and unfortunately racist and ageist subtext quietly (and in some cases publically) undergirded the dialog and fear in the moment.  As we lamented about the collective pain of the moment (on all sides of the issue) we devised a plan to invite our young people into one of Montgomery County's most vibrant public squares-- Downtown Silver Spring.  The goals we created are:

  • To build community
  • Promote positive images of our young people--especially young people of color
  • To highlight the vital role that recreation has in the development of our young people 
  • To utilize the "public square" to build new interracial/intergenerational connections between groups that don't regularly interact with each other

Very quickly we reached out to Gabe Albernoz and Jose Segura of Department of Recreation, The Fenton Street Market, Reemberto Rodriguez and Jewru Bandeh from the Silver Spring Civic Building, and Yvette Freeman from the Downtown "Red Shirts" Team.  In a matter of months we kicked of our first Audacity of Hoops Tournament.  

This year's event continues our effort to build on the success of the tournament.  The collaboration has grown to include Pyramid Atlantic, Gandhi Brigade, the Youth Violence Prevention.

Scenes from this year's Tourney:

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and DC Councilmember Muriel Bowser with our Hostess Councilmember Valerie Ervin

High School Female Winners and Runner Ups

High School Boys Winners from Blair High School

Adult Tourney Winners from Montgomery County Department of Rec (Go Figure!)

Jump Shot by Wheaton Team Player During Championship Round

Adult Tourney Featuring Montgomery County Fire Fighters and the YMCA

Adult Runner Up Team from IMPACT Silver Spring (whooo hoooo!).  Thanks Will Jawando for joining us.  IMPACT Board Member Terrill North (long sleeve shirt) was our coach!

Team From Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.  Team Name--"White Men Can Jump"-- and jump they did!!!

Tournament Hostess Councilmember Valerie Ervin Dubbed the "Math Queen" by Hip Hop Math Teacher

East County/Briggs Chaney Team Taking it to the Hoop

  Many thanks to our sponsors who supported us this year and throughout the last 3 years--and our newest sponsor-- Monument Bank (who also entered a corporate team into the tourney this year!).

The success of the event has now created momentum to include other sports and venues around the county into the "audacity" family of activities.  Stay tuned!