SILVER SPRING, Md. – As sixteen teams warmed up Thursday for a 5-on-5 basketball tournament at Blair High School no one seemed out of place even if some of the participants hadn’t been in a high school gym in a decade or more.
All were welcome for the second annual H.O.O.P.S. tournament including Montgomery County Police officers, Blair High School students, teachers and staff.
Also in the mix were Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel, local corrections officers, state attorney’s office employees and members of the Maryland State Patrol.
Many heard about last year’s 12 team tournament and called next for this year’s competition.
“We have a trophy this year,” said Bill Currence, an assistant principal at the school who helped organize the event. “Last year we were just playing for bragging rights so we got them a trophy to go along with bragging rights this year.”
But you didn’t find cops rooting for cops or firefighters only siding with their fellow firefighters. In this tournament, all entrants were placed in a pool and teams were drawn in a semi-random order to ensure that each team had a mix of teens and adults.
“That's why everyone wants to be in it because it incorporates everyone and they get to be a part of something exciting and new,” said Rich Reynolds, an officer with the Montgomery County Police Department. “Five years ago, I never thought about doing anything like this now I'm running the event for the police department so it's pretty cool; I really enjoy doing it.”
High school students like Matt Siff watched from the sidelines last year but this year wanted in on the action.
“It's a lot of fun out there,” said Siff. “Playing basketball—it’s what we all love and I'm really out there to have a good time.”
Police hope it shows teens that officers, firefighters and other public safety professionals are a lot like them, no matter who wins on the court.
WKYG 93.9 FM and Athletic House Elite Sporting Gear helped keep the event free for all participants.