By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Sheriff Mark Pettway’s community basketball tour will kick off this month to help young adults with conflict resolution and offer safe activities, he said.
The tour is in partnership with HoopFest 3-on-3 and will take place at six different venues across Jefferson County, beginning June 24 at Trussville High School Stadium.
Other sites and dates are Legion Field, July 8; Bessemer Recreation Center, July 15; Gardendale First Baptist Church, July 22; Hoover, location to be determined, July 29 and City Walk Bham, Aug. 5
“It is important to provide our community with different ways to resolve conflict, support our younger generation, and provide them with safe places to enjoy themselves,” Pettway said.
The tour seeks to connect with some “harder-to-reach” community members, said the sheriff.
“The people that we need to talk to in the community, they don’t show up at the forums, or the panel meetings that we have, but they do play sports. They play basketball, they play football. This is a way to invite them out, to be able to have an opportunity to talk to them,” he said. “I believe that we have a way to connect through three-on-three basketball tournament.”
Peyton Williams, a sophomore at Huffman High School who plays on the school’s basketball team, said event can offer a good time to players.” It’s just a better thing, a better environment for the kids,” Williams said.
The tour adds to a number of programs initiated by Pettway, as well as by the city of Birmingham and area nonprofits, to combat violence, particularly among youth. Williams said he’s personally witnessed “a lot of violence” growing up in Birmingham.
“I wish we could stop violence and that everybody could just put the guns down… [It would,] no doubt, bring the world to a better place,” Williams said.
Players are asked to register online with their chosen team of three for tournament play on one of the dates. After the individual tournaments are completed, a “Tournament of Champions” will take place at City Walk Bham on Aug. 5.
Eligible players include high schoolers up to adults aged 28. The games will be divided into men’s and women’s divisions.
“Show your skills. Let’s get together and just have an opportunity to talk about conflict resolution. This gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community,” Pettway said, in a video released by his office.
To register, visit https://jeffcohoopfest.com