When the wonderful wildness of the Wizards game had ended (Monday) night in a sea of smiling faces, glitter, autographs and selfies, I was approached by a family with four young kids. The dad extended his hand and thanked me for the night. He went on to introduce me to his wife, his kids, all the while saying how his kids would someday be attending Mountain Vista High School, and how they were already looking forward to it.
They walked away, and suddenly dad came back, literally embraced me, as he told me that “THIS” is what he had been looking for. My first thought, was, “He’s been looking for slightly expensive Harlem Wizard’s jerseys and red, white and blue basketballs?”
From the moment this idea was presented to me, my non-negotiable was that this be a family friendly event for our community. Each step of the way — from prices, planning, and pizza to late-night conversations in my head — the vision was families. When the plans started unfolding, the unwavering and immediate support from all of you made me realize that we were doing this the right way for our kids, our families, our schools and our community, and no matter how many people showed up we were going to have something special.
Man, did they show up!
So, my most sincere thanks for your leadership, your staff, who embraced this idea from the start, and, of course, your kids and families. None of this would have happened without all of you, and that is the truth. The fine, young men who play on the Wizards team expressed gratitude for the way you made them feel welcome while hanging out at your lunches.
You showed them that no matter our backgrounds or our paths to this place, the value we all place on kids and families is what binds us, and what keeps us coming back to this amazing job day after day.
Patrick G. McGuire, an A.P. Psychology and American and World History teacher and the assistant girls basketball coach at Mountain Vista High School, organized the Harlem Wizards basketball event as part of the school’s Wish Week community outreach.