The Game of the Century
There was a BIG basketball game in Evanston at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center this past Sunday: Evanston Police Department officers vs. F.A.A.M. current and alumni players.
Pastor Michael Nabors of Second Baptist Evanston and Mayor Steve Hagerty refereed. The game raised funds for Family Focus Evanston youth to participate in the National Society of Black Engineers summer conference.
EPD's Detective Tosha Wilson reports.
Just imagine: “The Game of the Century!” Evanston police officers playing against some of the best F.A.A.M. (Fellowship of Afro-American Men) basketball stars at the local community center to raise money for the National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter.
Before the game starts, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson is sung by a young angelic voice from center court. Everyone in the crowd can see her nervousness and the crowd of white faces, black faces, brown faces, civilians, the police chief, the police deputy chief, pastors, and children all sing together to help her with the words. Everyone has her back and she makes it through the song with a smile on her face.
Everyone is ready, with smiles and enthusiasm for the game to begin.
[Photo: Officer Enjoli Daley]
At first, the crowd is small and then it swells to loud voices, cheers and support for both sides. The game begins, and the crowd is buzzing, and the competition is very real.
The police officers feeling old and slow. The kids bringing it to them full force. The game was physical. There were officers falling flat on their faces due to the quickness and stamina of the youth, and kids being knocked out of the sky when driving to the basket because officers had too much pride to lose to middle school kids.
[Photo cred: Heather Ransom]
Luckily, everyone walked away injury-free. The smallest kid on the court is hitting three pointers and making the police officers work a little bit harder to overcome their Aleve and Bengay wearing off. The police officers had sharp shooters and a big man who none of the kids could handle due to his height and strength.
But there was no backing down from either side.
At one point in the first half it was bucket for bucket, but the police officers pulled away for a big lead at half time. When the second half started, the F.A.A.M. stars came out on a mission and a plan to stop these police officers in their tracks. The threes were dropping for the kiddos and the police could not do much to stop them.
All of a sudden, the police officers could not manage to score without passing at least five times (I wonder where that handicap came from **wink wink**). There was crowd participation and accountability was in full force. The crowd counted, “one, two, three, four, five,” to make sure the officers knew they had some major passing to do before shooting the ball. This excited the F.A.A.M. Stars and put major pressure on the officers. Steal after steal and before you knew it, the kids had taken the lead.
[Photo: Heather Ransom]
In the final minutes, the game was close. The police officers had their big man score a few times to take the lead back, but after a quick skirmish for the ball, a foul was called. Somehow the police officer’s big man picked up his fifth and final foul on his first actual foul (do the math **another wink wink**). With the big man out of the middle, the kids had a chance to add some more pressure now that they were down 45-40.
Wait! Wait! Wait! There is now some confusion from the scorers table. The announcer gets on the P.A. System and announces that there has been a Steve Harvey type of mistake and the scorers table has made a terrible error: The score should actually be 47-45 due to a “rookie move” with the score board.
It was like the F.A.A.M. Stars hit a seven-pointer! It was an amazing revelation. The police officers could not believe it, but they had one last time to score. They put on their game faces and tried to tie this game up. With seconds to go, the officers inbound the ball, pass five times, the shot goes up and it’s NO GOOD!!! The F.A.A.M. Stars WIN! An unbelievable game with great community support, family fun, great officers and more importantly, some very awesome kids.
The Evanston Police Department was represented by Officer Corey D. McCray, Detective Corrie Svendsen, Detective Amanda Wright, Detective Tosha Wilson, Sergeant Michael Endre, Officer Martin Neal, Sergeant Charlotte Hart, Animal Warden Jason Pounds, Sergeant Jeff Faison, Detective Loyce L.e. Spells II Spells, and Officer Brian Rowell.
The F.A.A.M kids were represented by massive amounts of greatness and I truly wish I knew all their names.
I am a detective with the Evanston Police Department, a former F.A.A.M. player, the niece of one of F.A.A.M.’s founders, William Logan Sr., currently the head coach of F.A.A.M.’s Liberty team, a proud product of the Evanston community and I wrote this to say,
I love you. Thanks for a great time, thanks to my awesome co-workers and thanks to some awesome kids. I’m proud.