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‘That’s different:’ Black History Month essay paid admission fee for Milwaukee basketball tourney

Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- When it comes to competitive sports, qualifying for a tournament can be stressful, and sometimes, really expensive, but for a group of students in Milwaukee, all it cost was some time hitting the books.

There was no entry fee Sunday, Feb. 23 during the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center's 3-on-3 tournament.

"It's anywhere from $20 to $30 a player, but this time, I just decided to make it free," said Dennis Thomas, tournament director.

Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith

Though there was no fee, it wasn't technically free. There was still some effort required.

"You're writing an essay, but you're playing basketball, and I'm like, 'Okay, that's sort of not normal,'" said Caleb Smith, player.

They had to write an essay on a topic of their choosing related to Black History Month.

"Has to be an essay of at least one paragraph, up to three pages," said Thomas.

"When we first heard about it was like, 'Wow, that's different!'" said Jutiki Smith, father.

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center basketball tournament

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center basketball tournamentIf you thought more homework would deter young athletes, you wouldn't be alone, but the team and their fans showed up -- proving these kids will do whatever it takes to get on the court and win.

"No, not really because I like school," said Caleb Smith. "It's not bad."

"Bringing those skills and abilities off the court will prepare you on the court," said Jutiki Smith.

"We've always been about the whole person, and not just about basketball," said  Thomas.

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