Fever moves from hoops to houses

By Amber Harding | June 1, 2009 | Video
Fans know how competitive the Indiana Fever can be on the basketball court, but on Friday, May 29, the players participated in a different competition — who can build a mini-barn the fastest?

For the fourth year in a row, the Fever teamed with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis to help make home ownership available to low income families. This time their mission was to build mini-barns for two families, each with young children, on the southwest side of Indianapolis.

“The Fever is an excellent role model for all the Habitat children,” said Dean Illingworth, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. “The Fever coming out on a project like this, giving back and showing how they care about the community in which they’re living and working right now is tremendous for the entire community. It’s tremendous for the Fever.”

Starting forward Tamika Catchings also sees her Habitat experience as a chance to reach out to children in the area.

“I think coming out here and being able to set an example for the kids, to show them what we do on the basketball court is great. But also being able to come out and help others that aren’t as fortunate is more important,” Catchings said.

Catchings, who has participated in Habitat numerous times, not only with the Fever but also with her own Catch the Stars Foundation, took the opportunity to lead less experienced builders during the construction of the barn. She even warned rookie center Danielle Campbell not to make the same mistake that one rookie made in a previous year — accidentally nailing her glove to the house!

Center Tammy Sutton-Brown has also put in a fair share of time at Habitat builds, and she sees the experience as a chance to show her appreciation for Fever fans.

“We have fans who come out every single game,” Sutton-Brown said. “They give us so much energy during the game time, and it’s just a little way of giving back to the community and saying thank you.”

Crystal Short, future owner of one of the Habitat homes and a mother of two young boys, came to the build site so that she could personally show her gratitude to the Fever.

“It’s amazing. I couldn’t believe it,” Short said. “It means a whole lot because we’ve always wanted to be homeowners.”

As the team members raced to build the two mini-barns, they kept in mind the real reason for their efforts — to contribute to the well-being of the community that has greatly supported them.

Both homes, and mini-barns, will be dedicated on Friday, June 12.