The 135 Spring Classic 3 v 3 Basketball Tournament kicked off without a hitch on the morning of May 26, 2013. Players, organizers, and spectators gathered together to sing the national anthem to kick the day off right. With rain clouds looming, Nic Zanghi, and fellow graduating senior and co-organizer, Tom Beck, took to the bull horn to announce the day’s first match-up on the main court. The day proceeded with riveting games ending in extra points and major upsets, while the unwavering high energy from crowd made the park feel like “our own March Madness”. The players spanned the ages from high school freshman to college freshman, each one trying harder than the next to out-score and out-hustle their opponents.
“Most of us hang out playing pick-up games here all the time, shooting for teams, and just playing ball.” said Beck, who was not able to play due to an ACL injury sustain in the beginning of his senior varsity basketball season. “Then one day about three weeks ago, Nic [Zanghi] proposed the idea that we organize a tournament. When he asked me to help run it, I was immediately interested. I always want to be around the game as much as possible, even if I can’t play.”
Beck emphasized the immense amount of time that was spent over the next three weeks meeting and exchanging texts with Zanghi, as they debated and discussed the logistics of the tournament. With the cooperation of the 40-plus tournament participants, Zanghi and Beck evaluated talent, and made teams fairly with seedings to follow. The 135 Spring Classic was set to be played rain or shine. Zanghi, aka The Commissioner, and Beck were not satisfied allowing this to be just an average 3 v 3 basketball tournament. Their entrepreneurial spirit lead them to team with tournament participants, Zach Gittlen and Jesse Vaughn, to find a sponsor. They approached Q’Doba, where Gittlen and Vaughn are employed, to speak with the marketing team. By the end of the meeting, the boys had convinced Q’Doba that this tournament consisted entirely of their target demographic and that free samples and T-shirts are often rewarded with repeat business.
From 10am until tournament’s end, around 2pm, the crowd remained at capacity, only losing participants to employment obligations. There was nothing for any passer by to complain about except for excessive cheering and friendly trash talk.The first annual 135 Spring Classic in Northborough was an inspiring and uncommon example of the power of youth and community. Beck and Zanghi are not your typical high school leaders, and thanks to their success at this event and the high demand for repeated occurrences, we hope that this is the beginning of a trend of youth-lead community organizing.
Thank you to Jess Carlin, Rachel O’Sullivan, and Tatiana Colindres for their volunteered assistance in the game-day tournament operations. Congratulations to Luke Serra, Michael Baker, and Matt Powell for winning the tournament! Also, a shout out to Sean Hill for being awarded the Tournament MVP, for leading his last-seeded team into the Final Four.
Press Release / Blog Post
Pete Berman, Director of Operations, Coaching For Change, Inc.