Harlem Ambassadors to visit WorthingtonWORTHINGTON — When you think of next week’s Turkey Day celebrations, the image that comes to mind probably isn’t of Mayor Alan Oberloh wearing basketball shorts.
WORTHINGTON — When you think of next week’s Turkey Day celebrations, the image that comes to mind probably isn’t of Mayor Alan Oberloh wearing basketball shorts.
That’ll be only one of the must-see attractions next week when the Harlem Ambassadors basketball team comes to town.
The Ambassadors, who are not related to the more well-known Harlem Globetrotters, are a co-ed touring basketball group that has put on basketball shows and fundraisers in 49 states and 19 countries over its 13 years of existence.
They will be in town Wednesday both to host a youth clinic and play a “show” basketball game against an all-star team of Worthington community members, including the mayor. Worthington is one of five Minnesota stops on the tour.
“They contacted us earlier this spring, and they have a route that they’re going around, and we happened to be along the route and they asked us if we were interested,” said Bruce Viessman, who is the Chairman of the Sports and Recreation Committee, a sub-committee of the Chamber of Commerce. “We decided at that point of time we haven’t had anything like this for a while, so we decided to give it a try.”
The visit kicks off Wednesday morning at the middle school, where the team will host a program called “Stay in School, Stay off Drugs.” The program will be held for the 5th- and 6th-grade students and will include showing the kids some basketball tricks before turning to the more serious message.
“It cost us some extra dollars to be able to do that, and the Optimist Club has stepped forward and contributed some dollars to help fund that portion of the program,” Viessman said.
The evening event will take place in the high school gymnasium starting at 6:30 p.m.
Joining the mayor playing for the Worthington Traveling Turkeys will be 27 other community members, such as Prairie Elementary Principal Josh Noble, Matt Widboom and Chad Cummings from KUSQ 104.3 FM, Minnesota West assistant women’s basketball coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka and Trojan basketball program alums Simon and Maria Boever.
The event is billed as providing “ball handling tricks, high flying slam dunks and hilarious family comedy.”
The first and third quarters of the game will be played competitively, though the Ambassadors will match the Worthington team’s level of play. The second and fourth quarters will consist more of a comedy routine and basketball tricks.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the YMCA, Center Sports and the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds for the event will go to the Sports and Recreation Department, which uses the money it makes to host various sporting events youth activities in town.
“Essentially, it’s a fun night out, it’s some good family entertainment for the whole family, it’s a good fundraiser for the Sports and Rec Committee,” Viessman said. “It’s a nice way that we can have some other entertainment during the week for the whole Turkey Day celebration.”