Many moons ago, my small Midwestern town had the wonderful opportunity to host a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game, complete with all the pomp and comedy and showboating talents of the New York-based team, led by the hilarious Meadowlark Lemon and the amazing dribbling prowess of Fred “Curly” Neal.
And what an eye-popping show of basketball art and science the red, white and blue-jerseyed hoopsters put on. As much as I remember their high-flying dunks and behind-the-back passes, I will always more vividly remember the Globetrotters’ wide smiles and the laughter that filled our local gymnasium on that cold winter night.
This coming April 30 — at 7 p.m. — in our Payson High School Wilson Dome, I’ll have a chance to relive that fun night of yesteryear as the Harlem Ambassadors take on the Payson All-Stars.
Formed in 1998, the Ambassadors play in the same tradition as the Harlem Globetrotters, helping raise money for community not-for-profit groups and deliver a positive message to kids. They have played in all 50 states and 20 countries and play in more than 200 fund-raising games each year.
Said Payson Parks and Rec event planner, David Roehrig, “People of all ages will surely enjoy this night of basketball family fun, either as spectator or as a team member of our Payson All-Stars.
“If you’re 19 years of age or older, you can apply to be one of the 20 men and women who will form our four, five-person hometown teams, with each team playing one quarter. Two of the teams will be basketball “savvy” and the other two will be more “just-for-the-fun-of-it” teams.
“The application fee is $165 and applicants are encouraged to seek out a business or organization sponsor to help them with the fee,” Roehrig explained.
If you would like to apply to be one of the Payson All-Stars, applications are available on the Payson tourism Web site and also at the Payson Parks and Rec office at Green Valley Park.
Advance tickets for the game are only $5 (free for ages 4 and under) and are available at the Payson Roundup, Parks and Rec office and the chamber of commerce. At-the-door ticket price is $7.
“We would encourage everyone to buy their tickets as soon as possible,” said Roehrig.
“We’re hoping to sell out the gym, and there are only so many tickets available. All proceeds will go toward Payson High School scholarships to students attending Gila Community College.”
This week’s music trivia question is: What is the “sweet” name of the song that the original Harlem Globetrotters used as their famous theme song? Was it A) Sweet Georgia Brown; B) Sweet Dreams; C) Sweet Home Alabama; or D) Sweet Caroline?
This week, if you’re the sixth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win two tickets to the Harlem Ambassadors game, courtesy of the Rim Country Friends of Gila Community College.
Last week’s question
Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the music artist who sang the 1993 No. 1 hit “I Will Always Love You”?
This singer-actress began a modeling career in 1981, appearing in Glamour magazine and was on the cover of Seventeen. She starred in the movies “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Bodyguard.” She was married to Bobby Brown from 1992-2007 and was the cousin of Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. She passed away in 2012.
The choices were: A) Mariah Carey; B) Madonna; C) Whitney Houston; and D) Janell Blizzard.
The right answer was Whitney Houston. Mariah Carey and Madonna were also 1980s-90s diva queens, who along with Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, combined for a total of 47 No. 1 hits from 1985-99. If you’ve been inside the Parks and Rec building within the past year, chances are good you’ve met Janell Blizzard. She’s the Parks and Rec’s multi-talented and gregarious receptionist.
Congratulations to last week’s first-time music trivia winner, Jim Young of Payson, who won a Best of Whitney Houston CD.
Born and raised in Phoenix, Jim graduated from Alhambra High School in 1967, and then attended Phoenix College, before graduating from Arizona State University.
Jim met his lovely wife, Vickie, while working at the old Legend City Amusement Park in East Phoenix. He said, “There she appeared, out of the blue, and put a spell on me. This June, we’ll be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.”
Following his lifelong career in the Valley as a locksmith, Jim and Vickie moved to Payson in 1995. He now considers himself semi-retired, but still enjoys the business on a limited basis.
Jim’s other interests include archery hunting and taking cruises. He also volunteers as a hunter education instructor here in town for Arizona’s Game and Fish Department. His preferred music is classic country and oldies rock ’n’ roll. His three favorite artists are Creedence Clearwater Revival, Simon & Garfunkel and Hank Williams, Sr.
Have a great Rim Country week.