MLK tradition unites basketball teams

By: Jenn Chapman Email
By: Jenn Chapman Email

Today Americans remember Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and his infamous messages of establishing peace and integration in the U.S. Perhaps one of the greatest ways we have seen this enacted is through sports.

Six years ago the Osseo-Fairchild girls basketball team was looking for an extra game in their season. Their coach sent out a state wide email and connected with the School of Hope in Milwaukee. It has now evolved into a MLK day tradition. The schools trade off location each year, giving the other team an opportunity to see what life is like in a very different hometown.

For students at the School of Hope, seeing a cow up close and personal was new territory. For senior basketball standout Jessica Pralle, this is home.

"I love the questions and I love the kids getting excited about the cows," says Pralle. "Plugging their nose cause it smells, to me it's just an every day thing."

"I got to see how others live," says Hope senior Chaunsey Smith. "I used to usually think life is always the same but now I got out and I see something different."

On the 3.5 hour bus ride to Osseo, the Hawks talked about MLK's greatest quotes and picked one in particular to reflect on today.

"Dr. King's vision to see a country where his kids could grow up to be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," says School of Hope head basketball coach Christian Arvold. "And so for our kids to get out of the city to see other kids, who have different lives and come from different side of the state, have a lot of the same things they want out of life."

At times, athletics can be all about wins and loses, but for many, sports are merely the vessel to new life experiences.

"That's why I have a passion for basketball," says Smith. "You meet a lot of people through basketball and it teaches you a lot about each other."

"You know basketball is one thing. The X's and O's is one thing," says Osseo-Fairchild basketball coach Matt Korger. "But I feel like my job is to teach and talk about life and how you're gonna be successful and I think this really helps them."

"It's just eye opening to the see difference...that we're all the same," adds Pralle.

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