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The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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It’s raining teddy bears

Basketball game attendees toss stuffed bears on the court to be collected for donation
TEDDY+BEAR+TOSS%3A+Teddy+bears+and+various+stuffed+animals+rain+from+the+sky+after+families+toss+them+into+the+center+of+the+basketball+court+before+the+beginning+of+the+Bowie-Austin+High+game+on+Friday%2C+December+8.+The+teddy+bears+will+be+donated+to+a+local+childrens+hospital+in+time+for+the+holiday+season
Nick Wood
TEDDY BEAR TOSS: Teddy bear’s and various stuffed animals rain from the sky after families toss them into the center of the basketball court before the beginning of the Bowie-Austin High game on Friday, December 8. The teddy bears will be donated to a local children’s hospital in time for the holiday season

Warming up for her varsity district game, senior Micah Walton is overjoyed. She knows that this basketball game has the potential to benefit children in need, so she’s happy to play in the game that ties her favorite sport with giving back to her community.

The Lady ‘Dawgs basketball teams organized their own “Teddy Bear Toss” on December 8. This is a charity event that is often coordinated by collegiate sports teams around the holidays, to gather toys to give to disadvantaged members of their community.

“Being able to create a positive impact feels good, especially knowing that these types of events usually occur at universities that have a larger influence on their audience,” Walton said. “It feels like we’re doing our part, even if it’s on a smaller level.”

Attendees at the teddy toss game were encouraged to bring a new teddy bear or other stuffed animal to throw onto the court before the game began. People who brought a new teddy bear were also allowed free entry to the game.

“My family and I donated one bear because we thought the cause was very thoughtful,” freshman Maya Karivelithara said. “The team did a lot of advertising for the event, and I think that shows how much they cared.”

The team collected a total of 105 teddy bears. The teddy bears gathered from the game will be donated to St. David’s Children’s Hospital, just in time for pediatric cancer patients to receive a holiday gift.

“I feel great that our program can help out,” varsity coach Iesha Collins said. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives, so I love to see the girls take this event seriously and contribute to it in their own way.”

The players were also encouraged to toss bears, and many did. Walton looks forward to this event because of the opportunity to give back.

“I’ve never spent time in a hospital, so I don’t personally know what it’s like, but everyone sees commercials and hears about the challenge,” Walton said. “It’s important to try to contribute what you can, even if it’s not financially benefiting the patients.”

This is the second year that the girls’ basketball team has hosted this charity event, and each year has resulted in over a hundred donated bears.

“I coached at a different school where the boys program hosted this event, and I knew I wanted to host it when I became a head coach,” Collins said. “So, I brought it from there. Coaching here for two years and being able to coordinate the event both years is a really good feeling.”

In addition to giving back to the Austin community, the event serves as a way to boost sportsmanship. The teams feel that the event lifts their spirits at the beginning of the game, making it memorable and meaningful for everyone.

“The event brings both teams together,” freshman player Danica Williams said. “We both recognize that it’s awesome that girl’s basketball can bring the community together, and get them involved with good charity opportunities, like the teddy toss.”

Bowie partnered with Austin High to ensure the event was as successful as possible.

“It’s easy to hone in on competition, and obviously we still had a competitive game, but I think that the event was an important bonding moment for both teams,” Collins said. “It reminds us that we’re all human, and it was cool to see Austin High bring bears, too. Even though we’re competitors, we know we can come together and help our community.”

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