Madison Square Boys and Girls Club also learns about basketball

Blackout coaching staff engages new fans with anti-bullying workshop

Brooklyn Daily
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Are you ready to take the Blackout pledge?

Brooklyn’s up-and-coming American Basketball Association team, the Brooklyn Blackout, may not have any players yet, but that didn’t stop the team’s coaching staff from heading to the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in Prospect Park South on July 17 to teach kids how to prevent bullying, and asked them to pledge to stamp it out.

“We asked them to make the Blackout Bullying Pledge,” said coach Mark Cook. “They swear to help stop bullying in their neighborho­od.”

Coach Cook, assistant coach Shawn Thomas, and associate assistant coach Torrie Williams gave the boys and girls aged 10 to 12 years old the low down on bullying. But it wasn’t too long before they got into the good stuff — basketball.

“We ran some drills with the kids,” said Cook. “They did a great job.”

The Blackout coaches have been reaching out to the community with their anti-bullying campaign in anticipation of their second round of tryouts on Aug. 10, when they hope to fill out their roster. The roster following their first auditions in June is currently under wraps.

The earlier tryout was simply business, but the August session is as much an event for fans as it is an opportunity for players. There will be exhibition rounds and live music entertainment.

The coaches came up with the idea as a way to simulate an actual game, and see how the players perform under pressure.

“The owners want to make this tryout as lively as possible for the players,” said Cook. “They don’t want an empty gym and us screaming at them. We want to put some pressure on them, and make it feel like a game.”

The August tryouts will also serve as a food drive. Instead of asking fans to buy tickets, the Blackout owners will admit anyone who arrives with one can of non-perishable food, which will be donated to a food pantry after the event.

“Instead of buying a ticket, we decided it was better if they would bring in a can of non-perishable goods,” said Cook. “You can drop it at Aviator and we’ll bring it to the local food bank and you’ll be able to get in and enjoy the tryout.”

Check out the Blackout tryout at the Aviator Sports and Events Center [3159 Flatbush Ave. between the Belt Parkway and Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge in Mill Basin, (718) 758-7500,] Aug. 10, 12 pm. Adults need one can of non-perishable food to gain entry. Kids get in free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Taleiana p. from Madison.wi says:
I want to be a basketball player. Today starting now .
Sept. 15, 2014, 9:59 am

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