August 20, 2015
Ten teams comprised of 43 Sacramento area players made up the bracket for the first annual Men of Mercy 3-on-3 basketball tournament held last Saturday at Courtside Basketball Center in Rocklin, California. The tournament proceeds benefited the work and mission of Mercy, a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to helping young women break free from life-controlling issues such as sexual abuse, eating disorders and addictions.
Hosted by Mercy with support from the Sacramento Kings NEXT program, the Men of Mercy tournament was designed to give men and boys an exclusive opportunity to support Mercy’s residential program. “It was great to give the men in our community a chance to give back and enjoy some good ol’ competition at the same time,” said Kerri Phillips, Mercy Community Relations and Development Manager.
Beth Gelender, Sacramento Kings NEXT Manager, added, “The Sacramento Kings are committed to doing good and creating positive change in the Sacramento region, and we’re proud to partner with Mercy to help raise needed funds to create meaningful impact in our community.”
Before tournament play began, Nicole, a 2011 Mercy graduate, shared with those in attendance how Mercy helped her overcome the neglect and abuse in her homeless and chaotic upbringing and find freedom from her depression, addictions and eating disorder. Tournament goers were especially touched when Nicole shared her personal “freedom dates,” marking the significant points on her journey when she gained freedom from her issues, including her eight-year battle with bulimia. Nicole told the crowd she would not be alive today without Mercy and is glad to now be able to help give back by serving on the Men of Mercy planning committee.
After Nicole spoke, the ten teams took to the courts to compete in four games each. Many of the participating teams represented community churches or businesses, including radio station103.9 The Fish, who provided promotion and coverage of the event. Joe Flores & Associates sponsored Team Flores and provided bottled water for the tournament participants. In the end, Team Destiny, representing Destiny Christian Church, was named the tournament champions, and Team Has Beens took second place.
“The men on our team were so grateful to be able to support a ministry that focuses on helping young women see God’s unconditional love and transformational power,” said Davin Johnson, Sports Ministry Pastor at Destiny Christian Church. “As men it is important for us to step up to the plate as potential leaders in the community and recognize the life-controlling challenges that many women face across the country.”
Tournament planning committee member Christina McQueen said, “”It was incredible to see all the men in the community with a heart for Mercy step onto the court in friendly competition to support young women in need of freedom in their lives. The tournament was more than a success, and I hope, as the years pass, we will begin to see more and more men stepping out to shoot hoops for a purpose.”
The second annual Men of Mercy 3-on-3 tournament is slated for October 2016. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.