Up & Coming Weekly

January 11, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JANUARY 12, 2022 - JANUARY 18, 2022 UCW 13 ree hundred kids from local Cumberland County schools, both public and private, will face off during the second annual MLK Dream Jam at Terry Sanford High School, Jan. 15th and 17th. e event will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by advocating for children in the community to come together and play basketball. e MLK Dream Jam began in 2020 as a way for public and private school students to play basketball against each other in a friendly but competi- tive environment. Twenty-six teams will participate in the event this year, spread across two days. Twelve girls' teams will chal- lenge each other on Saturday, Jan. 15th, and 14 boys' teams will compete against each other on Monday, Jan. 17th. Karl Molnar, a coach and teacher at Terry Sanford High School, is the event organizer. e idea of the MLK Dream Jam was to have public and private schools play against each other, explained Molnar, intending to keep it as local as possible. Molnar said that Fayetteville public and private schools have a his- tory with one another. "Private and public schools have an interesting dynamic (in Cumberland County) … I want to bridge the gap where schools are standing in the same room and won't talk to one an- other. I want us all to play nice in the sandbox together," said Molnar. Holding the Dream Jam during the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend helps the coaches and student-athletes celebrate and honor the legacy of the civil rights leader by coming together. With the MLK Dream Jam, Molnar and other coaches in the area hope to ease some of these inter-school ten- sions. Every game features a public- school team against a private school team. Additionally, university coaches and scouts in attendance can watch talented young student-athletes from the community as part of the recruit- ment process. "We wanted a reason for college coaches to come to one area on one day and see the talent in Fayetteville," Molnar said. As for the kids, Molnar said they are excited to participate Several young student-athletes in Cumberland County play on travel teams with each other throughout the summer, but with this event, they get to compete against their friends. At the inaugural event in 2020, Molnar said the games were all very close and competitive, making for an exciting day of basketball. "e first event had six games dur- ing one day, and by the end of the day, the gym was packed. You couldn't find a seat … the atmosphere was palpable. I'm excited for that to happen again," he said. Players from other teams were in the audience that day, and several went back to their coaches to ask if they could join in the event the following year. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event couldn't be held in 2021. Molnar said he is anxiously excited about the event returning this year. e rise in cases from the Omicron variant brings a threat of cancellation, but Molnar and the others remain optimistic the event will go on as scheduled. e MLK Dream Jam will be at the Terry Sanford gymnasium on Jan. 15 and 17. ose interested in attending can purchase tickets at the door. Doors open on Saturday at 10 a.m., and Saturday tickets are $10. Monday's festivities kick off at 8:15 a.m., and Monday tickets are $12. Six games are scheduled for Saturday, and seven on Monday. Attendees will be asked to wear a mask. Miller's Crew food truck and Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop will be on location to provide food and refreshments. COVER STORY ALYSON HANSEN, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Photo courtesy of Pexels. MLK Dream Jam Basketball Tournament to showcase local student talent by ALYSON HANSEN

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