Champions of Sport: 2016 Chicago Peace Games
12 months ago
Connor Sports, Father Mike Pflegre, St. Sabina, Mary’s Courts, Isiah Thomas, Spike Lee, Jabari Parker and other memebers of the Chicago community brought champions together for the Fifth Annual Chicago Peace Games in an effort to build relationships and create brotherhood on the neutral territory of a basketball court.
The Peace Games strive to foster relationships among at risk youth of Chicago in hopes of alleviating violence in the community. This is done by asking young men in the south side to take an oath of peace. They promise to renounce affiliations with any violent groups, to turn in their guns and participate in the Peace Games basketball league, career advising and other programs designed to create comradery in the community while preparing individuals to build successful careers.
"Basketball's a hook, basketball is a relationship builder, but it's bigger than basketball. It's about jobs. It's about education," said Fr. Michael Pfleger, of St. Sabina via ABC 7 News.
Connor Sports believes programs like the Chicago Peace Games are vital to establishing relationships that build a safe and strong community. Our belief in building relationships is shown through our continual commitment to the Peace Games. We’ve been a leading sponsor of the initiative since the idea was born in 2012. Every year, we and Praters Sports Flooring, provide a new court design for St. Sabina but our dedication goes beyond the surface. We support efforts year round by educating others about the Peace Game’s mission, attending peace marches and supporting St. Sabina’s anti-violence efforts.
Bob Cowhey, Connor Sports Business Developemnt Manager, experienced the power of the Peace Games for the first time this fall when he refereed alongside NBA officials. It was here he witnessed the true power of sports as rivals became teammates.
“I have always believed in the ability of sports to unite communities, break barriers and foster compassion. While at the Peace Games, I realized members of the sports industry have an obligation to unify communities and create change through sports. I’m happy to know I am working for a company who is accepting this responsibility,” said Bob Cowhey.
Over the past five years, St. Sabina has embodied the enduring nature of community and sport. It has shown that the structures of violence can be torn down and has demonstrated the true power of basketball and community. St. Sabina has seen positive change taken from the baseline to the sidewalk of the south side of Chicago as more young men participate in the Peace Games and the number of shootings and violence decreases.
Every year, we leave the Peace Games in awe of the St. Sabina community. We are honored to have been a part of this extraordinary event from the beginning and see it as testament to basketball’s ability to promote peace, build relationships and create brotherhood.