The Houston Rockets have nothing to fear. Liberty Police Department’s “Cops” team might have ambition but it lacks the talent to take on a middle-school team, let alone an NBA team.
At the inaugural Cops vs. Kids game hosted by Liberty Police Department on March 4, the Cops dropped the game 42-37. In their defense, the middle-school players turned out in greater numbers with more than two dozen players against just 10 players on the Cops team. This meant that the Kids’ coaches could regularly cycle fresh players onto the court (with coaches often playing as well) while the Cops team had to press on despite being fatigued.
“The odds were stacked against us,” said Sgt. Chris Watson with a chuckle after the game. “I don’t think they even had room on the sidelines for all their players. We had empty seats on our side. We didn’t have time to catch our breath.”
Watson was proud that the Cops team managed to put points on the board despite it being the first time they had ever played together. As organizer of the event, Watson also is grateful that so many people turned out to watch the game and help raise money as all ticket sales went toward Liberty ISD athletic programs.
Watson put the first points on the board in the first quarter, which ended at 11 Kids, 12 Cops. By the end of the second quarter, the Cops took the lead with 22 points against the Kids’ 20 points, though the exertion was starting to show for the Cops players by the half.
When the Cops team showed up late after the halftime break, Police Chief Gary Martin was asked if the team was coming back to play the second half.
“They took some shots of oxygen and some Flintstone vitamins, and now they are good to go,” he said with a laugh, “but I do think our next challenge after this should be crossword puzzles.”
The oldest player on the team – Lt. Chip Fairchild – played throughout the entire game, rarely tagging out, which impressed Watson.
“For someone his age to be out there playing at that level, it shows just how much he cares for the kids. For all of these officers to go along with all the things I get them into tells me a lot about them and how they are actively trying to connect with members of the community,” Watson said.
By the end of the third quarter, the score was 33 Kids, 32 Cops with the lead shifting back and forth between teams. Each team missed a few opportunities to add points through free throws. With just four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Kids had extended their lead to 40-32, and the Cops never caught up. The final score was 42-37.
“I think the kids had a good time. If we never do this again, those kids will remember this night for the rest of their lives. It was a good way for them to get to know our officers and interact in a fun way,” he said.
Watson says he hopes to make the Cops vs. Kids game an annual event and is looking into adding a Cops vs. Kids kickball game in the future.
“Dodgeball was mentioned but that was something we had already planned to do against the fire department. We had a kickball game set up last year but then the COVID pandemic hit and we had to cancel it,” he said.
To keep up with Liberty Police Department’s plans and activities, follow the Department’s new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LibertyPoliceDept.