FALCONER – Regardless of the numbers on the scoreboard, everybody won when the Harlem Wizards came to Falconer Central School.
The gymnasium of the school became a standing-room only venue on Wednesday evening as area residents packed the bleachers to witness the fundraising magic of the Harlem Wizards.
To raise funds for a new $36,000 playground, 21 members of the staff and faculty of the Falconer Central School district took to the court to face six members of the Harlem Wizards. The six wizards included: David Paul, “DP;” Rashaan Barner, “Rocket;” Claude Henderson, “Tojo;” Dexton Williamson, “Air Jamaica;” Devon Curry “Livewire;” and Arthur Lewis, “King Arthur.” Each player of the Fearless Falcons took on a nickname similar to that of Harlem Wizards players, such as “Kobe Beef” and “Hoose Ur Mama.” Even the cheerleaders for the game were made up of staff and faculty members.
According to Larry Spangenburg, Fenner Principal, who served as coach of the Fearless Falcons, the team trained for months to take on the wizards.
“We’ve been coming in every Sunday night for two hours doing gassers and dunking drills – they had to bring in new rims because we smashed one of them,” Spangenburg said.
More than just a basketball game, the event featured acrobatics, antics and family-friendly comedy. There was a little something for attendees of every age, including “Tojo” grabbing a woman from the audience for a slow dance. Shortly after “Tojo” was wheeled off the court on a cart. Then during halftime “DP” played games with the kids, such as “You Been Tricked,” which had the kids trying to catch the basketball without knowing to whom the wizard was going to pass.
“It’s always a fun time coming out to these communities to help raise funds in a fun way,” Williamson, “Air Jamaica,” said. “It’s all about the fun, but while we’re being fun it’s good to be positive role models for the kids. It’s great to see everybody in the community coming out together to raise money for a good cause – we enjoy doing it.”
Kirsten Boardman, whose three sons attend Falconer schools, went to the game with her boys. Boardman’s son, Alex, a sophomore at Falconer Central School, had a ton of fun at the event, especially because it was funny seeing the Wizards make fun of the teachers, he said.
“It’s sort of like payback.” Alex said. “It’s pretty awesome that this is a fundraiser because we don’t really have the best playground.”
Pam Sigular, a fourth-grade teacher and PTO president at Fenner, was incredibly happy to see the sellout crowd of smiling faces in the gymnasium.
“It has been amazing to see the community come out like this – we’re really happy,” Sigular said. “The Wizards have been awesome. They get kids up on their feet, are showing them such a great time and we’re really happy to have them here.”
Those who were unable to attend, but still wish to make a donation, may email Pam Sigular at email@example.com, or by calling any district building’s main office. A “300 Club” spaghetti dinner fundraiser will also be held March 15.
For more information, visit www.harlemwizards.com or search for “The Harlem Wizards” on Facebook.