MIKE NIETO: Shootout represents something worth fighting for

2014-01-09T18:00:00Z 2014-09-18T23:35:12Z MIKE NIETO: Shootout represents something worth fighting forMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 09, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

You will get two days of good basketball and entertainment with a chance to pitch in for a good cause.

The fourth annual Bob Hambric Shootout is Saturday and Sunday at T.F. North High School. While $7 admission for the whole day is a bargain, North coach Tim Bankston wants people to come away with more than just a basketball experience.

"We want to remember Coach Hambric, but we also want to raise money and awareness of cancer," Bankston said. "As the saying goes, everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. We want to raise money for the American Cancer Society through our Coaches vs. Cancer."

Hambric died of cancer in 2009 and was a father figure as well as coach to many youngsters who passed through Simeon's doors.

Bankston said he may have a little reunion with his Simeon teammates as this is the 30th anniversary of the Wolverines winning the 1984 Class AA state title under Hambric. He said the event has grown.

"We get more people involved in it each year wanting to help," Bankston said. "We have a cheer and competitive dance competition on both days. We want this to be a family event, but also informative.

"Together we can raise money and awareness."

He said he has talked to his players and former players.

"Get checked, nobody is immune from cancer," Bankston said. "Younger kids, they sometimes don't understand and don't think it can happen to them."

Bankston is right. I am sure there will be a few cancer survivors at the game who would be more than willing to share their stories.

It is a great two days of basketball, but the money is going to help with research to find ways to battle this horrible disease. It takes a toll on the person's loved ones as well. Bankston won't hide his love and respect for his former coach and felt this is one way to honor Hambric and to shed light on cancer awareness and research.

There are some great teams playing such as Curie with Kansas recruit Cliff Alexander. T.F. North and Mount Carmel play at 7 p.m. Saturday, while East Chicago Central will come across the state line and face the Marshall Commandos at 5 p.m. T.F. South will play Hyde Park at 12:30 p.m. Sunday and Curie will face North Chicago in the final game at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. That is four games per day at $7 per day.

Maybe there will never be a cure for cancer, but this is one battle worth fighting. A basketball backdrop is an easy and effective way to get people's attention.

Let's keep fighting the battle.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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