By Chinta Strausberg
Saint Sabinaâ€™s Peacemakerâ€™s Monday night basketball games are not so much about who wins but how much love, peace and relationship building evolve from the bonding of youth who were once arch enemies in the neighborhood.
Last Monday, area youth wore either red or orange, blue or green, but when asked what do the colors stand for, without hesitation the referee said, â€œPeace, peace and more peace.â€
And, that is the atmosphere the youth created as they played a very spirited and highly competitive game, and they do so without cursing or emotional outbursts. Younger children looked on soaking in that positive behavior. There were several young fathers holding their children as they yelled out game strategies.
Among those watching the youth sprint from one side of the Saint Sabina ARK court to another was Father Michael L. Pfleger who said, â€œThe competition has become very fierce but at the same time weâ€™re also watching the relationship that is going on.
â€œYou have the contact disagreements of the games, but you never see a problem beyond that. We never had a problem in here, and the guys discipline each other and talk to each other. Weâ€™re seeing them keep the peace amongst themselves in here. Theyâ€™re learning how to play hard, play strong and competitive but also disciplining themselves and the building of relationships with each other. That is what itâ€™s all aboutâ€¦no problems.â€
Father Pfleger has a very important meeting today that may be very good news in helping him expand his Peacemaker League.
Corey Williams, office manager for Saint Sabina, who explained that the red T-team is from the neighborhood that are not gang-related and that the orange team was the maroon team the last session.
â€œThis is the fifth week of this cycle. Things have been pretty good,â€ Williams said noting the games are more competitive than before. â€œThere is a different make-up to most of the teams. The champions from last time have come back together and are trying to repeat.
â€œThere is a lot of spirited competition, a lot of close games, and weâ€™re hoping we continue to build camaraderie between the guys on the team and on the opposite teams as well because this is not just about basketball but about building relationships between the buys,â€ said Williams.
Father Pfleger asked the community to support the youth by attending the Monday peace games starting at 6:30 p.m. at the ARK, 7800 So. Racine.
You may also make secured online donations to help expand this historic peace effort that Father Pfleger began last September by brokering a truce between four rival games by clicking on the following link: www.saintsabina.org, then click on â€œGiving.â€ There is an optional box for those who would like their donation to support the peace basketball league.
For more information, call Father Pfleger at: 773.483.4300.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.