RAISING CULTURAL AWARENESS THROUGH SPORTS: DIVERSECITY HOOPS BASKETBALL CAMP AT HAVERFORD
Haverford basketball players Mike Fratangelo ’07 and Greg Rosnick ’09 think of their chosen sport as more than just a way to stay fit and have fun; they see it as a unifier, bringing together people who may have nothing in common but a love of the game. “Basketball can be played anywhere, by anyone, regardless of race or socioeconomic status,” says Fratangelo. “All you need is a ball and a hoop.”
That’s why Fratangelo and Rosnick created DiverseCity Hoops, a summer basketball camp for Philadelphia-area boys and girls in grades 7-9. DiverseCity Hoops goes well beyond the usual drills and games; the camp will include discussions and interactive lessons on current events and topics like race, gender and culture. It’s Fratangelo and Rosnick’s hope that the campers—who will be coming from both the inner city and the Main Line suburbs—will leave with an enhanced awareness of multicultural issues.
“We really feel as though the camp can bring a lot of issues to light that are otherwise left untouched in our schools and society,” says Rosnick, who, with Fratangelo, took a course in the theory and practice of multicultural education, which served as inspiration for DiverseCity Hoops. “We especially feel that by targeting areas of the Main Line and the inner city, we can begin to bridge some gaps between two communities that are so close in proximity and a world apart in wealth.”
When they’re not shooting hoops, the campers will hear presentations by guest speakers and participate in activities such as poetry readings and discussions surrounding video clips of current events, or sports interviews featuring the often influential opinions of professional athletes. Basically, they’ll be learning about teamwork and friendship both on and off the court.
“The kids will find out more about themselves and each other through basketball,” says recent graduate Fratangelo, who is considering a graduate program in social work and research at Bryn Mawr.
The camp is sponsored by former Haverford varsity basketball player Ron (’71) and Fredi Norris, in memory of their son Alex, who died at age 16. “Since 1994 when Alex died of Fanconi Anemia, a rare genetic blood disease, the Alex Benjamin Norris Memorial Fund has reached out each year to support special programs that, like Alex did, seek to make this world a better place,” says Ron Norris. “DiverseCity Hoops is such a program and we are delighted to provide support.”
“Alex was very passionate about justice in the world, fairness, and helping the less fortunate,” adds Fredi Norris. “He also loved basketball—he refereed a children’s league, and was probably the biggest Boston Celtics fan in New York.” To the Norrises, DiverseCity Hoops was the ideal project for them to fund, combining the personal interests of their son with the college that is still an important part of their lives.
“These two young people trying to do something good for others—it’s all part of the Haverford spirit of giving back to the community,” says Fredi Norris.
DiverseCity Hoops will take place Aug. 6-10 in the Calvin Gooding Arena of the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center (GIAC). For more information or for a camp application, please call Mike Fratangelo at (412) 512-3199 or Greg Rosnick at (215) 962-1391.
— Brenna McBride