Harlem Ambassadors / by Douglas Koski

Sinéad had found out about the Harlem Ambassadors through the Rotaract Club of Keene, and our friend Peter.  She was interested in helping out, and mentioned I could probably help out on the photo front.  They took her up on the suggestion, and I took them up on the request.  It was a great event, and I had a blast taking the photos!

I got there right after work so that I would not miss any of the action.  There were parents and kids taking advantage of the open court before the big event, while the members of the Rotoract club got the area setup.

It wasn't long before the Ambassadors arrived.  They quickly took to the floor for warm-ups.

The 4 teams they were set to face also arrived in time for warm ups, and the court was filled with photo opportunities.

Ribby (from the Swampbats) also made an appearance, and joined in the fun!


The local teams vacated the court for a brief chat on their game plan, and the Harlem Ambassadors took the opportunity to finish warming up in front of the crowds.


The announcer's voice rang out over the crowd, and the event was under way!

We got to meet all the players of each of the local teams.

Ribby assisted with all the introductions.  One chest bump proved to be a little too much for our winged mascot friend.

Ribby made a quick recovery in true Ribby fashion.  A little mingling with the players, and then we were getting ready for the Ambassadors to make their official entrance.


The Harlem Ambassadors Enter 

Each of the Ambassadors entered with their own unique flair to the long list of their impressive individual achievements.  

After the introductions, they took part in a small pregame performance as a group.

They then started pulling kids from the crowd for later events.


The Game Begins

The comedy of the event got off to an immediate start, when the captain of the Ambassador's didn't like that one of the home teams had chosen the tallest person (nearly in all of Keene) to take the jump ball.  She pulled him off and replaced him with an opponent more to her liking...

It was pretty well all down-hill from there.  It was not without some fun as the players made sure to keep the mood comical between shots.

The first quarter ended with the Ambassadors a head by a good margin.  It was time to get the kids involved, though.  There was a race, and every child was encouraged to finish.

The winner of the race was required to do perform his strutting walk to get his prize.

The game and the laughs continued.

A little playful smack talk turned into a bit of a tag-team wrestling match.  The crowd was in hysterics!

The ref might have allowed the pinning, but he wasn't going to ignore the foul.  The 2 Ambassadors sought "parental" protection from the crowd.

The ref sustained the foul call.  He who was pinned, got the final shots.

The clock ran down, and we were at half time.  This meant more activities for the kids, and some good humored mischief as well.

Before the end of half time, the Ambassadors gave the crowd a chance to set the home teams ahead.  The crowd responded loudly for the home teams (at least the 2nd time around).  


The 2nd Half Begins

The 3rd quarter saw the designated home team ramp up the competition for the Ambassadors.  The Ambassadors were able to make up the extra points from the crowd, but the home team was keeping up as well.  It was an exciting start to the 2nd half, and the Ambassadors still found some time to have fun as well!

The end of the 3rd quarter brought about an opportunity for the kids to take to the floor.  There was a brief bit of dancing and then there were raffles to be drawn.  

A couple of the winners were required to do the strutting walk to claim their prizes.  One little girl had her strut figured out all to well.

The 4th quarter began and the home team for that quarter kept up the pace from the previous quarter.  The game had built up quite a lot of exciting energy. 

Just as the quarter was ramping up, we all took a moment to participate in the mannequin challenge.

The Ambassadors kept their lead through the rest of the 4th quarter.  (Though, it wasn't by much they kept it.  The home team was putting up a good fight!)

Just as we were running down the final minute, the captain of the Ambassadors took control of the ball.  Her team mates weren't quite ready for the game to be over, but she was ready for the game to be decided by a dance off...


The Ambassadors gathered all the kids to their side of the dance off, and performed the Chicken dance.  It was a devastating act for the other team to follow.

The home team did hold their own with an inspiring rendition of YMCA.

The kids were impressed to say the least.

All that was left was the final ceremonies.  The players lined up while the Ambassador's captain handed off a plaque to the ladies in charge of organizing the event.

There were autograph signings afterwards to which several of the kids with the event basketballs got in line for.  All-in-all it was an excellent experience and I couldn't have been more impressed with the Ambassadors, as well as all the members of the home teams.  It was quite the event, and the Rotaract Club did a great job in hosting it.  I hope Keene will see the Harlem Ambassadors swing through again in the near future.

Just a last little acknowledgement of the sponsors.

Just a last little acknowledgement of the sponsors.