DOBBINS HEIGHTS — For a community looking for more unity, Dobbins Heights is taking up an ambitious new venture: a monthly basketball tournament.
The idea had been brewing independently in the minds of Mayor Pro Tem Tyré Holloway and his old friend Tiger Stanback to put the Dobbins Heights blacktop to good use, and when they got together it started to look like it could become a reality.
The tournament fits in with the vision of the Unity in the Community committee, aiming to promote positive activities for residents to engage in.
“There’s nothing for kids in the community to do, this can give them something to look forward to,” said Stanback, 42, who organized a grassroots basketball tournament when he lived in Michigan. “The more they have to do, the less they get in trouble.”
The tournament is named Soul in the Hole, a reference to a late-’90s documentary about street basketball’s effect on the youth of Brooklyn, New York, and it has special meaning for Stanback.
“You have to play the game to know what Soul in the Hole is,” he said. “The basketball is life, the rim is the opportunity and the game is grasping and working towards the opportunities that are in front of you.”
Stanback added that the game teaches kids that if you don’t play by the rules, you can’t do what you love.
Soul in the Hole, a single-elimination tournament, will consist of 5-on-5 full-court games to 16 points — the winning team must win by two points. Teams will pick themselves and can include any gender. Referees will call hard fouls and obvious violations, allowing players to “play” and law enforcement will provide security, according to Stanback.
The entry fee is $100 per team, and all the money will be but into future tournaments or local causes, Stanback said. The first tournament will be held from 10 a.m. June 30 to July 1. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served, and there will be a DJ there along with local artists performing, according to Stanback.
“We’re going to give it a shot and if this first tournament is successful we’re going to have one every month,” he said.
Players must be 16 or older, but Stanback said if you know how to play and pay the dues, this rule can be bent. Holloway said at a Unity in the Community meeting earlier this month that the tournament will likely start with older players with the hope that it will generate enough eyes to attract younger players to join as well.
At the meeting, members floated the idea of having other sports like kickball or softball that could be more inclusive, though nothing is set in stone.
Originally from Rockingham, Stanback lived in Detroit for about eight years where he first started a Soul in the Hole tournament. At its peak, he said, there were nearly 40 teams of five competing. He said as the tournament grows in popularity, it can use its funds to provide things like haircuts for kids who can’t afford them, Christmas presents or scholarships.
“The more people in the community get involved the better,” Stanback said.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]