Winter sports have been over for several weeks, but basketball will be returning for a night where teachers from the Ledyard School District will be playing against the one and only Harlem Wizards. Ledyard’s Education Advancement Program, or L.E.A.F, is hosting the game to support their causes and to bring the community together for a night of laughter.
L.E.A.F, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization that distributes grants for teachers that are working on programs that will support student achievement and to public schools in Ledyard. All the proceeds from the game will go towards this mission.
The Harlem Wizards, who are a trick oriented team, will take on the Ledyard teachers that will come together to form The Colonel team. From pre-game rituals to planning outfits for the game, the teachers all will come together to support one cause: student excellence and achievement.
Amanda Fagan, Ledyard’s high school principal, already has a pre-game ritual aligned. “I eat six raw eggs, crank out 200 push-ups, and then visualize myself dunking.” However, Fagan is not the only teacher ready to prep for the game. Ledyard’s Superintendent, Cathy Patterson, is also prepared for Thursday’s tip off.
“At 5’1″ I am expecting to win the jump ball and hand it off to point guard Fagan who will take over the game from there,” Patterson said. “I expect the Wizards to be intimidated by our size and speed but we can’t go into the game overconfident about the outcome. Turner, Smith, Doyle, Glenney, Byars and Buonocore are our secret weapons-our bench is deep.”
Rituals are not the only aspect of the game for these Colonels, Ledyard apparel will be worn by the players. Officer Liz Smith, who works at Ledyard Middle School as a Para, has an outfit already coordinated. “I will wear Colonel Blue and Gold because I am a Ledyard Colonel to the core as an Alumni (class of 1980),” Smith said.
Injuries, another common part of basketball, have crossed the mind of the teachers. Michael Conklin, a 6th grade teacher at Juliet W. Long, does have a backup plan if he is to become injured. “If I get hurt before the game, my backup plan is to cheer on my fellow teachers from the sidelines,” Conklin said. “But that’s not going to happen,I hope.”
Overall, the teachers are all involved for a good cause, although several teachers were a tad hesitant. Marceline Macrino, an english teacher at Ledyard High, was nervous due to the fact that she had an unpleasant experience as a student.
“I was reluctant to participate at first because I was cut from my middle school basketball team and practically laughed out of summer basketball camp,” Macrino said. “However, Coach Buonocore reminded me that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and that left-handed players are hard to defend. This may be my last opportunity to make an impact on the world of basketball. The main reason I decided to play, however, is to support the LEAF organization and represent my fellow Colonels.”
Tickets will be on sale during both lunches starting Monday, April 6 and tickets can also be bought at the door the night of the game. Come see your teachers play ball. Who knows, the Ledyard teachers may be what teenagers call, “ballers.”
Megan Brawner, Sports Editor
Junior Megan Brawner is Sports Editor for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She serves as Secretary for the Junior Class, is a lead runner on the track and cross country teams, and takes pictures for Inner Visions and Teen Ink.