By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
They promised to bring the pain, but they didn’t mean in their knees, ankles and backs. Over the next week, Dayton police officers may be looking for a little pain relief after they were defeated in a two-game basketball series on Saturday by the Dayton Youth Sports Association’s special-needs teams.
The youthful athletes clearly had the advantage on the court, winning in both games of the Cops vs. Kids tournament, held at the Dayton High School gym. Despite their promises to bring their “A game,” the officers never actually planned to win and their action on the court looked more like a Harlem Globetrotters game, minus the actual skills and athleticism of Meadowlark Lemon.
Between games and after the police team was defeated by the kids’ team, Dayton City Manager Theo Melancon joked that he was looking to sell the team or make some significant trades.
“We’re also looking for free agents,” he said with a chuckle.
Dayton ISD Athletic Director Jeff Nations, who served as scorekeeper, said the police had better stick to what they know.
“I’m glad they can write tickets because athleticism is not their strength,” he said jokingly.
The tournament, organized by DYSA Coach Jay Matlock and Dayton Police Department, was a fundraiser that will pay for uniforms, dues and expenses of the special-needs students. As the families of these children already face higher-than-average medical expenses for their care, Matlock said it has been his goal to make participating in sports a cost-free endeavor for the children. Previously, he sought donations from local businesses to help offset the children’s expenses.
Matlock is hoping to make the Cops Vs. Kids basketball games an annual event.
“The kids had a blast and they are playing good ball,” Matlock said. “They had practiced but I didn’t know how they would do with the higher goal. They are used to playing with a 7-foot goal and this one today was 8-feet high.”
Organizers are still tallying the money raised, but Matlock hopes it will be enough to take the athletes to the special-needs World Series in Longview this year.
He credited Ashley Thompson and Tara Hanel for organizing the event and thanked members of Astros Nation, the largest online social media fan club devoted to the Houston Astros, for donating items to the silent auction.
One of the top auction items, a coconut pie made by Arlene Langham, fetched $300, partly because Dayton Police Capt. John Coleman promised to let the pie be thrown in his face by anyone willing to go higher than his bid of $100. When Jeff Leeth heard about Coleman’s promise, he bid $300 and allowed the DYSA special-needs athletes to throw the pie in Coleman’s face after the games ended.
What Coleman omitted was that Langham apparently promised to make him a pecan pie if the bid for her coconut pie went above $75, and Coleman ensured that the bids went much higher by agreeing to take a pie to the face.
Dayton Police Chief Robert Vine says the event was more than a fundraiser for the kids; it was an opportunity for them to interact with police officers in a positive setting.
“These are the kinds of events that every police officer can enjoy,” Vine said.