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Hoopsgiving: A Fun and Essential Time of Year

Mason Fullerton ’25
Mason Fullerton ’25

The Black Student Union (BSU) kicked off its first school wide event with its two-year annual 2023 Hoopsgiving Basketball Tournament! 

The standards for Hoopsgiving this year were set pretty high. This occasion was started in 2022 by an Abington Friends  Alum, Grace Barlow ‘23, who had a tremendous impact on the BSU affinity space and club.  

Last year’s event held seventeen different schools that participated.  In order to uphold that impressive ideal, it was going to be a challenge for this year’s BSU clerks  Esa McCants ’25, Nevaeh Brown ’25, Jade Sanders ’24, Sydney Johnson ’24, and Issa Rabb ’24 to match or even outdo Hoopsgiving 2022, but they faced that challenge head-on. 

When asked about the importance of having these kinds of events for black communities in schools, Brown said,  “It builds connections and makes people connect with school and these events bring people together without having to unpack the trauma of black history. It is also just a fun way to connect with other BSU’s.” 

McCants said, “Essentially with sports, it opens up a clear space to be uniquely us and not have to “show off for white communities”, and helps build connections with other BSUs outside of AFS.” 

Sanders said,  “Connection is very important to have, especially to establish a feeling of safety so people feel safe not only in their own community but also feeling safe outside of their community. It also opens the doors with people outside of AFS.”

As you entered the Berman gym, the lobby was full of participants and spectators filling the room with energy by dancing and singing along to artists such as Drake, SZA, J. Cole, Future, and more. Before the tournament began, the bleachers were crowded with people filling the first two rows, waiting with anticipation. When Johnson spoke into the microphone and called up the first four teams, the crowd went wild, cheering for their friends and booing for their foes.  

When asked what the hardest part about the night was, Brown answered,  “The uncertainty of getting people to show up and planning for the worst scenario.”  

McCants then stated, “Making sure all of the financial estimates were accurate.”

The tournament started off slow, with stalemates on the scoreboard at both ends of the court. Ethan Smith ’27 scored the first basket, opening the night with a 3-pointer. 

The action began to pick up with ankle-breaking moves around defenders, no-look passes, long-range 3-pointers, and game-changing rebounds.The referees of the game, Ethan Hodnett Bell ’25 and Kamani Healey ’25 started ramping up the fouls that they were calling and even calling a technical. 

The scores were nearing each other as the games started to end, with one-to-three-point differentials. The crowd was starting to get on their feet.A vibrant environment began to form as the crowd was cheering and the intensity of the games picked up. Games started to go into overtime, leaving the crowd on a nail-biter. 

Finally, a winner was crowned, yet despite the competitive spirit, in the end, win or lose, no one seemed bothered, because everyone was truly just there for a good time. The BSU clerks were later interviewed to gauge their thoughts on this year’s Hoopsgiving and BSU as a whole.  

Hoopsgiving 2023 lived up to its high standards,  reflecting the competitive spirit that brings people together, making the event successful. It was an action-packed night and a great way for BSU to end the year. 

When asked what  the greatest success of  the night was, Brown said,  “Organizing it the way we did because we were all on top of everything and making sure everything went smoothly.”

McCants was most proud of,  “the T-shirt design and the BSU student support.” 

Sanders said,  “Making the night happen. It is our first actual event to happen and to get BSU established because we put in a lot of hard work. Also, reaching out to other BSU organizations.” 

Now, the clerks are planning their biggest night of all: Black Excellence Night! The school cannot wait to see what these clerks have in store for us next.

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