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The Kings teach some lucky Lincoln students about goals

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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I was fortunate to attend last week’s eighth-grade basketball game at Twelve Bridges Middle School. The crowd was twice as large as usual and there was abundant team spirit from both the Twelve Bridge Titans and the W.C. Riles Huskies fans. In addition, the number of students wearing purple Kings’ sweatshirts was higher than usual. And many students and their parents waved Kings’ wands during crucial scoring moments at the eighth-grade basketball game. There were also the Kings’ Breakers (break dancers) and the Sacramento Kings Dancers performing. Add the beloved Kings mascot Slamson, Kings’ announcer Scott Moak and typical Kings’ intermission practices such as audience members entering dance and basketball-throw contests. It was beginning to resemble a real Sacramento Kings game, even though in reality, it was a middle- school game. But to me, it was as exciting and as much fun as a Kings’ game. And for the school’s students, family members and staff, it will be a special night fondly remembered for a long time. I wasn’t the only adult looking forward to the Kings’ appearance. Daisy Damos, a computer teacher and science tech, at Twelve Bridges Middle School, e-mailed us last Thursday that the Sacramento Kings representatives would be at the game. The e-mail said that “all of the students are excited.” Damos was just as excited. “I thought that it was an amazing way for the students to see role models in our community supporting our students and our school,” Damos said. “It’s nice to see the Kings supporting education.” School athletic director Jared Gonsalves explained how this special presentation came about. “We were extremely lucky to be able to partner with the Sacramento Kings organization to ‘Kings-size’ our court. Their announcers, dancers and technical crew were great in creating a fun and exciting atmosphere similar to a real Kings game, which made our last regular season game extra special this holiday season,” Gonsalves said. “TBMS eighth-grade student-athlete Elias Godines’ mother, Alma Godines, works for Maloof Sports and Entertainment and offered us this great opportunity to help them give back to their community, which has supported them over the years.” On Monday, Chris Clark, Sacramento Kings’ public relations director, explained why the team representatives were there. “The Kings presence at Twelve Bridges was part of our organization’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a positive footprint in the local community,” Clark said. “We always seek unique opportunities to show our gratitude for the loyal support demonstrated by the fanbase here in the Sacramento region.” Of course, the night belonged to the students, who were the Kings’ reason for being there. And besides being entertained by the Kings, the students learned some life lessons during the game. I asked two eighth-grade team members these questions: 1. What did it mean to you to have the Kings’ representatives there? 2. What was your favorite part of having the Kings at your game? 3. Did you learn anything special from having the Kings at your school? Alex Isola, the starting point guard, responded: 1. “It made me feel like I was in the NBA. When I made a three-pointer, they called out my name. It was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The cheerleaders were cool, too.” 2. “The atmosphere was electric and the Twelve Bridges Middle School fans so amazing.” 3. “I learned that sometimes you have to zone out of what's going on around you and focus on the game in order to win.” Tony Roberts, the starting center, also responded: 1. “It means a lot to me. The feeling of having my name called over the loud speaker after I made a basket was amazing. I’ll never forget it.” 2. “My favorite part was hearing my name over the loud speaker.” 3. “I learned that when I get to play at the varsity level in high school, the crowd will be loud. Listening to my coach will be very important when it gets loud.” The Kings recently faced a lot of uncertainty regarding when their season would begin because of the NBA lockout. Yet that didn’t stop the organization from helping Lincoln middle-school students. “As with any outreach event involving our employees and students, we hope young people learn about the benefits of volunteerism and community involvement,” the Kings’ Clark said. What a great role model the Kings are for Twelve Bridges Middle School students!