South Providence School hosted a three-on-three basketball tournament this past May. Gene Ligon, the high school physical education teacher wanted to find a way to inspire SPS students and help them understand that their dreams for success can be realized through hard work.
He organized the tournament in honor of his parents, whose strong faith and belief that where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained. “If the dream is big, so is the struggle . . . this tournament was a way for our students to realize that victory comes through hard work, working as a team, and understanding that there is always hope,” states Ligon, “the tournament was a vision that I felt was needed and while it had its struggles, seeing these kids win something that they were able to accomplish was worth it all.”
At the high school tournament awards presentation, Coach Ligon showed a video that featured inspirational speaker, Inquoris “Inky” Johnson. Inky Johnson had a big dream, to play football. His dream was an ultimate struggle, he described his life as “being a refugee of poverty and violence, and that his success was stained by tragedy.” Inky Johnson was on his way, playing for the University of Tennessee when an injury permanently ended his big dream. In the video, Inky inspires everyone with a dream to “face defeat” and through determination create a new vision that will lead to a new victory.
South Providence students faced a strong faculty team, who ultimately won the tournament, but the true victory was when the teachers removed the gold medals they had won and placed them on the second place team. In turn, they placed their medals on the third place team and finally, the third place team placed theirs on the fourth place team. It was a poignant moment for the staff and students to share a bigger victory, the true spirit of teamwork.