Military vets serve as honorary coaches for North Texas tournament

A high school basketball tournament is doubling as a tool for building relationships and unity between the community and police and to show some appreciation for the military.

Navy Recruiter Leon Davis is the fourth 'honorary coach' to lead and mentor this team from South Oak Cliff High School in the past four weeks.

"I think you actually see us as humans instead of as a sailor or soldier,” he said.

SOC and more than two dozen other teams from school districts across North Texas have been led by police chiefs and officers, firefighters, civic leaders and active military members at the preseason tournament in Duncanville.

The focus is on the ball. But the man behind the tournament, William Pearson, has ulterior motives.

"I'm frustrated and I'm tired and I hope that I'm not the only one that's tired of all the negativity,” he said.

Pearson has put on this tournament for two years now for the spirit of the sport and to show that there are good guys in service who deserve our respect.

"There are guys that love this community and serve with all they got,” the organizer said. “And those guys are being misrepresented. They're being looked over because we're so locked in on the bad guys."

It's naive to think the tournament will wipe out social injustice overnight. But players for Kimball High School in West Oak Cliff say it's a small start.

"They already got a tough job already. And for them to take out time to help us out and try to mentor us, I think it's really cool of them to do that,” said player Kobe Pinker. “There's a lot of pressure on them. So for them to do that, that's cool."

"Being a police officer is still honorable. Being in the military is still honorable,” Pearson said. “We need to focus on that."


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