Black History Month: Basketball Showdown Brings Forth New Traditions One Hoop at a Time

It isn’t often you find students and staff on the same playing field, be it for sports or in a classroom; however, Feb. 8, 2018 held such an event where individuals from both sides of the learning spectrum came together to play a laid-back game of basketball. A game that celebrated the beginning of what could be a new tradition for future years and a remembrance of old history that is shared during Black History Month.

Photo Credit: Christian Gruis

Teams of five-on-five met in the middle to show down, while students wore black and faculty wore red. The ball was tossed into the air and immediately taken by the students. Several fowls were made, falls were taken, but an overall lightheartedness seemed to take over. Though the competition was stiff, words of encouragement were passed between both teams in phrases of, “good work,” “that was a nice shot,” and “good try.” As the game persisted, score was manned by students along with referees who were compiled of students and community volunteers. After two 20 minute halves and a 10 minute halftime, teachers clinched the victory with 51-49.

Photo Credit: Christian Gruis

The Basketball Showdown game was put together by Eastern’s Multicultural Affairs Department specifically for Black History Month. Event coordinator and office assistant for African American Affairs, Jolie Balcwie, had a few things to say on their success.

Q: What made you want to put together a student versus faculty basketball game?

Well, I heard that they had done something like this in the past with international students, and I thought, for Black History Month, it would be a great thing to get started again because I think that basketball is a big part of African American culture.

Q: Do you think, while trying to make this event happen, there was teamwork you wanted to put together as well between the students and faculty?

Yeah, yeah. Definitely. I thought it would be great to get the students and the faculty working together in order to put everything together. Because when you put an event together, it obviously doesn’t work without teamwork. A big part of that was intermurals, they helped us a lot and the athletic director helped us by letting us use the gym.

Since 1985, most of the faculty, with the addition of a few of students each year, have gathered together to play noon-time ball. Both parties have found that it’s a great way to lessen the difference between the two. Many of the students like Ose Alli, President of Eastern’s International Club, and faculty such as Dr. Elder and Upward Bound Coordinator Jamie McKinney stated, “It was a lot of fun. I think everyone had good sportsmanship. I would love to do this more often to bring the university together.”

Photo Credit: Christian Gruis

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