Tavares and Jaquan are going to New York City today. A little bit of their story was told in the Tennessean on Sunday morning: http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/columnist/mike-organ/2014/06/22/nashville-brothers-nba-draft/11222981/. It is not totally unusual for a PTM volunteer to invite a PTM student to participate in an event, an activity, or to join a team—there are many volunteers who make up a “dream team” of creating opportunities for our students “after hours”– but Tavares and Jaquan joining a flag football team in 2012 has led to them having a second family and extraordinary opportunities.
In June, 2012 Matt MacIntyre asked if we had a 6 year old at PTM who could benefit from playing flag football on his son’s team. I introduced him to Tavares. Feeling left out, Jaquan (10 years old) indicated his interest in playing too, so Matt introduced Jaquan to Will Steih, who was coaching a 10 year old team. Will and Matt and their wives (Lacey and Sarah) made significant commitments to transport to practice and games. The boys became close to both families and eventually were able to spend some weekends, eat family meals, and go to church together.
While telling this story to an Executive with the NBA, the idea came about for the boys to actually attend the draft held in New York. So much of their story parallels Kevin Durant’s (2014 MVP): inner city, moving from apartment to apartment, uninvolved father. Here is portion of Durant’s MVP speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqEL51Cfad0&feature=kp. Details fell into place and now two dads (Will and Matt) are travelling with four boys (including Tavares and Jaquan) for the trip of a lifetime.
The best part of this story is not that Jaquan and Tavares will leave the state of Tennessee for the first time, that they will fly on a plane, that they will eat at a nice NY restaurant, that they will rub elbows with MVP players, or that they will see the Broadway hit Lion King. The best part of this story is that two boys from PTM will get a chance to hang around with Will and Matt as they keep building an incredible “joy-filled friendship”.