From the sidelines: Basketball fundraiser a Slam Dunk

Emanuel Sequeira, sports editor for Penticton Western News, is ready to show off his basketball skills in a charity game.

Growing up I had a basketball hoop in my yard that was nailed to the garage. I’d spend hours envisioning myself sinking the winning shot for my school team or my favourite NBA squad, the L.A. Lakers.

Unfortunately I wasn’t Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and couldn’t even lace up a pair of shoes endorsed by Kobe Bryant.

Needless to say, my school athletics resume is a short one.

It started with the Twin Rivers Elementary Tigers basketball team, then ended in Grade 6 as I was unsuccessful in making the Kinnaird Junior Secondary School Cobras volleyball squad.

If any young students are reading this, don’t do what I did. Don’t allow one bad experience prevent you from trying out for future athletic teams. I should have just picked myself back up and tried again.

Slighted from the game, and volleyball was never really my sport, I look back now with regret. Basketball was one of the sports I enjoyed most in school and I was OK at it. I was really good at shooting. Despite having an unorthodox style, I possessed good range from long distance. Not to brag.

But now I get that shot to prove something to myself. I’m going to be putting my basketball skills, or whatever I have left for skills, to the test as I’m on the Lions/Habitat for Humanity Slam Dunk team that will play the Harlem Ambassadors at Pen High on Nov. 30 at 2:30 p.m. I have to admit when Bob Elliott of the Lions Club first approached me about it in September, I thought he was talking about the Globetrotters. Nonetheless, I accepted the offer and was excited about it. I’m being sponsored by the Western News, while other members of the team are being generously supported by local businesses.

Joining me on the Slam Dunk team are Randy Farmer of 97.1 SunFM, Penticton Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson; Wendy Hyer, superintendent of Okanagan Skaha School District 67; Brian Hurst senior boys basketball coach for the Princess Margaret Mustangs; Brooks Lancaster; Kris Omland and Ryan Schulz; Greg Ovenden of Special Olympics; Jeff Prowse; Debbie Scarborough, executive director South Okanagan Women in Need Society; Diana Stirling; Dorothy Vankoughnett; Dennis Walker, SOCountry Internet Radio; Campbell Watt, newly elected city councillor; Sandra Webber, Penticton Lions: Fraser Rodgers, broadcaster for the Vees, a recent addition, as well as Pen High Lakers senior boys basketball coach Colin Cook.

With two of the four quarters being semi-serious, it will be good if our team has a few ringers. I’m hoping to get in some practice time to work on my shot. While this is for a good cause and to have fun, I don’t want to embarrass myself by throwing an air ball. Of course, now that I have talked up my shooting game, I will likely miss every shot.

Elliott likes the group that makes up the Slam Dunk team.

“I am very impressed with the diverse group of people who have agreed to play for the local team as well as their enthusiasm and willingness to help promote this event,” said Elliott. “The team roster includes many well known names in the community.”

Elliott hopes that residents support this event to help both the Penticton Lions and Habitat for Humanity South Okanagan raise funds to further their work in the community such as Backpacks for the Homeless, Christmas Hampers and the Annual Toy Run just to name a few. Habitat for Humanity South Okanagan has been working in the area for 10 years now and they count on the generosity of the community to build and renovate houses for low-income families. A recent project completed in 2013 was a new home on Huth Avenue in Penticton for a family of four.

This should be a fun event for families to attend, especially with the second and fourth quarters filled with comedy routines at a slower pace.

I’m excited to help and hopefully residents pack the gym to support both groups.

During the event there will be an autographed basketball draw and a 50/50 draw and concession.

Tickets are $10 for adults, students and seniors $8, children four and under are free. They can be purchased at the following locations:  Johnston Meiers – 267 Martin St.,  Johnston Meiers – Cherry Lane Mall and Barley Mill Liquor Store – 2460 Skaha Lake Rd. There are also a limited number of tickets available at the Penticton Western News.

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor for Penticton Western News