Ballin’ for Books: Playing Basketball for a Cause


written by Alex Gebhart, co-team leader at Spingarn High School

On Saturday, May 5th, something special was in the air. A combination of sweat, cheers, and old-school music mingled in a local gym for the City Year Classic: Ballin’ for Books!

Ballin’ for Books, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament supporting the City Year DC College Scholarship for Books, was a collaborative effort for Shameka Jennings, Chika Umeadi, and myself, all of the Whole School Whole Child team at Spingarn High School. Our objective: to hold a fun, engaging basketball tournament that everyone can enjoy while raising money for the scholarship.

Games started at 11:30 and went all day!

At 11:30 AM on Saturday, the basketballs started flying through the air. Eight teams battled it out over four games for their chance to be in the final four tournament, and the games were certainly intense. The first round flew by, but by the third and fourth, the games were a slugfest as teams fought for their chance for victory.
A quick first round led to the elimination of The Washington Bullets and The Flying Cheemas, leading to the final bout. White Men Can Jump and Two Hicks and a Stick battled furiously for the title and trophy, but ultimately, Andrew Stein, Latoya Evans, and Alice Kapp (subbing in for David Steber) fell to Will McGrath, Nate Wallace, and Matt Raible. All in all, it was a wonderful day, and as an organizer, I could not have been more happy for the results. We had eight great teams, over $100 raised for the scholarship, and a few hours of really amazing fun.

The winning team with their trophies

Thank you to everyone that came out to play with us, those that came to watch, our volunteers, and those that came to support us! It was a great event and we couldn’t have done it without you. We can’t wait to see you next year at the City Year Classic: Ballin’ for Books!

Here are some more photo highlights from the event!

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