Law Enforcement Supports Girls’ Basketball Team With Hoops And Heroes
by James Coulter
Ivan Navarro, Lieutenant for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, often played streetball growing up in New York. He never played in any organized sports in college, but he loves to play basketball on occasion.
Last Friday evening, while he did not take to the courts to drop some shots, he did drop some beats while his fellow officers played hoops with others in an effort to raise money for Bolts, the girls’ basketball team at Ridge Community High School.
Navarro has been with PCSO for 22 years. He and his fellow officers were asked to compete in the Hoops and Heroes sports tournament on Friday, and he was more than happy to join them. He loved seeing people turnout to watch his colleauges play against other law enforcement in the county.
“It was great and exhilarating,” he said. “It was refreshing to have all of these law enforcement agencies together in one place and time to have fun and being jovial.”
Being able to see other law enforcement officers come together to have fun playing basketball while raising money for a good cause proved to be quite the evening for him. There’s nothing he loves more than to engage in such camraderie among fellow officers, he said.
“The togetherness, the teamwork between all elements from the community, from the school board, all people that made it possible, it was a great undertaking and a short amount of time and everyone did their part to make this happen,” he said.
Ridge Community High School hosted the Hoops and Heroes basketball tournament to raise funds for their girls’ basketball team, the Bolts. The tournament was participated in by local law enforcement from across the county, including PCSO and the Winter Haven Police Department.
The event that evening also included other family-fun activities including face painting, bounce houses, and toy raffles.
Donations for the event went directly to the Bolts for their 2020-2021 season. The team was able to reach the state playoffs for the very first-time last season, their event program stated.
More than simply being a fundraiser for the girls’ basketball team, Hoops and Heroes, true to its name, provided an opportunity to support local law enforcement by allowing officers to come together and play basketball.
“This is a one-day tournament to help support local law enforcement and play with local law enforcement agencies,” said Nikki King, Head Coach at Ridge Community High School. “We want to bridge the gap and bring the community together.”
Being able to see so much support, both from the participating law enforcement agency and the local community, was more than overwhelming, with the turnout more than exceeding her expectations, she said.
“Just seeing the fellas compete, the officers and deputies compete against each other and have fun, it is fun to see them outside of their uniforms and compete for a trophy,” she said. “I am happy and excited for the future. This is the first one, and we are looking forward to another one next year.”