Serving the youth
Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The fourth annual Communities Coming Together basketball event presented by Britt-Quinn Enterprise, Inc. drew a crowd to the Robert W. Harrell Jr. Physical Health and Education Center on Friday and Saturday for hoops and a special presentation.
“It was a success, I must say,” Suffolk’s Michael Britt said of the event. “As we continue to go, we continue to grow.”
He estimated that 150 to 175 people came out on Friday evening, and on Saturday, “it got packed early during the day,” reaching similar numbers, not including the teams.
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Teams came from a variety of places including Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., which produced both a Pro-Am and a Legends team, Portsmouth and Franklin, along with the Suffolk teams, which included the Style Shop Superstars.
The age groups of teams varied with some being boys’ or girls’ teams at the junior varsity level, some featuring high school players, including Keith Stagg and Chris Roscoe of 2015 Group 4A state finalist King’s Fork High School, and some featuring adults, with former professional players.
Geral Staten emceed both days of the event.
In between games on Saturday evening, McArthur Britt Sr., president of the organization, vice president Michael Britt and several other gentlemen took a moment to honor beloved Washington D.C. area sports coach Simeon Williams.
“I still get teared up a little bit just hearing the name,” Michael Britt said.
In March, Williams suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 59.
He coached basketball at McKinley Technology High School in D.C., developing players like John Battle, who went on to play in the NBA.
He was a mentor to many young men, helping some who had made poor life decisions to get a second chance. Some of those men testified to his tremendous impact on their lives during the event on Saturday.
Britt said Williams helped young people develop life skills, encouraging them to put a priority on their education.
“He was just that type of person, he was a father figure,” Britt said.
Britt said Williams watched him play during his college career at the University of the District of Columbia and has been committed to helping him with his efforts in the Suffolk community.
“When I told him about Communities Coming Together, he said, ‘Look, I’ve got a varsity team that I’ll bring down there,’” Britt said, noting he also said he would bring a D.C. Legends team and a Pro-Am squad.
Then Britt said that Williams added, “’Not only am I going to bring them this year, we’re going to support you every year you have this.’”
Williams’ wife, Sylvia Gwathmey, was on hand on Saturday and accepted a plaque from the Britts dedicated in loving memory to her husband for his dedicated service to the D.C. and Suffolk communities.
Sharing what the presentation and words of testimony meant to her, Gwathmey said, “One word that will explain it all is ‘awesome.’”
The Britts’ vision for what the Communities Coming Together event can be is a safe haven and a forum that holds up to young people men like Williams as examples to follow.
“With everything that’s going on, we need to do the best we can to make (young people) see some leadership in us,” McArthur Britt Sr. said. “This is a vehicle that they can see positive people that they can look up to.”