Back to School Fever Sweeps the Indianapolis Area

The Indiana Fever set out on their inaugural Bounce Back to School Tour through the Indianapolis area during the week of August 18-22 to help local youth get geared up for another year of classes, both literally and figuratively.

Several players, coaches and even beloved mascot Freddy Fever spent time out of their week to participate in the Tour. By visiting five Indianapolis schools, these representatives were able to promote the values of education and show how concepts of math and science can apply to everyday life, even on the basketball court.

Students at each school collected in public assembly settings to listen to and learn from the Indiana Fever about the role of academics in sports. Concepts surrounding the physics of air pressure in basketballs and how to calculate shooting percentages were among several lessons discussed by Fever representatives at elementary and middle schools. Example questions were asked to volunteers from the audience who, whether initially right or wrong, were all given Fever t-shirts and autographed Tamika Catchings composites for their participation. Additional prize bags with school supplies and souvenirs were later raffled off to other program attendees at each school.

Gifts from the Indiana Fever were not strictly reserved for participating students, however. In addition to the prizes given out during each school’s respective assembly, boxes of books, pens, pencils, folders and even tickets were then donated in bulk to participating schools. These supplies are then to be redistributed to attending students as rewards for jobs well done or for those who do not have the means to fully prepare for the academic year.

The following are additional highlights from the Bounce Back to School Tour, chronologically broken down by each school attended:

  • Maplewood Elementary School – Monday, August 18th: Fever assistant coach Jim Lewis joined mascot Freddy Fever in a visit with 4th and 5th grade students from Maplewood Elementary School. Freddy kicked the event off in the gymnasium by throwing shirts into the crowd and picking out students and teachers to participate in dance-offs with him.
                Coach Lewis then used volunteers from the crowd to illustrate the importance of angles when shooting or rebounding balls off of the backboard. Later, he then continued this study of geometric concepts by constructing a triangle offense with other participants.
                Before dismissal, students wearing solid Fever red were called up to the front of the assembly where they were asked to recall terms and concepts from the lesson. Those who offered correct answers were given a Fever duffel bag with school supplies and books.

  • Holy Cross Central School – Tuesday, August 19th: Members from the Indiana Fever community relations staff visited Holy Cross Central School with Freddy Fever Tuesday morning to create excitement for a new school year. Shirts and dance-off invitations were, again, extended to the crowd by Freddy.
                Once the first wave of prizes was tossed into the audience, lessons on score keeping, the physics of air pressure and the prioritization of schoolwork were given to the attendees. Raffle and participant prizes were won or earned by students in the audience, ranging from Fever Believer t-shirts to autographed team composites.

  • Joan of Arc School – Wednesday, August 20th: First-year Fever member Kristen Mann visited the Joan of Arc School early Wednesday for an assembly on the benefits of a continued education and the applications of math and science on the basketball court. After one student said that he, like Kristen, aspired to be a professional basketball player, she explained that even this goal would require some concentration in school along the way by alluding to her college career at UC Santa Barbara.
                “I could never have gotten into the WNBA if I didn’t go to college,” Mann said. “And I couldn’t get to college without first doing well in high school and elementary school.”
                After Mann covered air pressure, shooting angles and the uses of backspin with the audience, prizes were again raffled off, at random, to attending elementary school students.  

  • Raymond Park Middle School – Thursday, August 21st: Indiana Fever veteran Ebony Hoffman visited Raymond Park Middle School early Thursday morning to share her own experiences in school with a group of eighth grade students. She used her time at the University of Southern California to explain the importance of hard work for a continued education.
                “I was on the Dean’s list through college and on the honor roll in high school,” Hoffman said. “My grades helped get me (where I wanted) to go.”
                Hoffman showed how differences in circumference and weight between a women’s and men’s basketball determine how much force must be used when shooting. She then used this shooting ability against a group of students in a game of H-O-R-S-E, thematically renamed F-E-V-E-R. Team items were, once again, then given out to participants and raffled off to other students in attendance.

  • Southport High School – Friday, August 22nd: The concluding visit in the 2008 Bounce Back to School Tour took place when Fever rookie Khadijah Whittington traveled to Southport High School to help the Cardinals with their fall sports pep rally.
                Whittington was announced after the 2008 Southport teams entered their gym to applause from their classmates. She gave a brief review of how much school has contributed in her own life before, herself, introducing members of the booster club.
                A few short minutes later, Whittington took the Southport court again when she played several physical education teachers in a game of F-E-V-E-R. A series of uncharacteristic shots from beyond the three point line put the game out of reach for the Southport participants as Khadijah coasted to victory.
                Her winning ways would not extend to the subsequent student-faculty relay race, however, where Whittington was unable to pull a teacher, seated on a blanket, quickly across the court.

The inaugural Bounce Back to School Tour was a success for all involved. Each school received a donation of hundreds of books for their library as well as school supplies to be used as motivational incentives for students. Players, coaches and other representatives from the Indiana Fever were given the opportunity to meet and interact with young fans throughout the Indianapolis area.

If you would like to be involved in future in-school events with the Indiana Fever, please visit the Donation and Appearance Request section of the Community Relations website at www.feverbasketball.com. Any further questions can be directed to Fever Community Relations Manager Roberta Courtright at (317) 917-2757.

- Robert Ausdenmoore