"It's All About The Game"
Spingarn falls in penultimate game
Ron Bailey, Publisher
History and the fuure are key topics during Spingarn's next-to-last home game.
February 14, 2013 - Before the second to last home game of Spingarn HS (DC), as we know it, there was a palpable pall over those in attendance. Not necessarily the students – kids seem to focus on the here and now – but the adults, many with ties to the closing school. It’s understandable, as Spingarn, opened in 1952, will close for renovation at the end of this school year, eventually re-opening as a vocational-type school. The days of Joel Elias Spingarn being a traditional high school are over.
“Of course I’m disappointed” said Green Wave basketball coach Keith Jackson, when asked at halftime if closing this landmark left a bad taste in his mouth. “Not for the school itself, it definitely needs renovation. But for the kids in this community; they deserve their own public school in this community”.
Garrett Washington during first half action.
Declining enrollment has been cited as the reason Spingarn is being close, or ‘restructured’ as some may say. The explosion of charter schools – and resultant student drain – along with families being forced out of the District and moving to suburban communities such as PG County also have conspired to close its doors; the latter is known as gentrification.
A substitute teacher at Spingarn, who graduated from Dunbar and moved to the city soon after the historic Brown v. Board decision, informed that “Spingarn was built to have a black high school on this side of the city”. Prior to its 1952 construction, black students, like Longwood Watson had to attend either Dunbar, Cardozo, or Armstrong – Spingarn’s neighbor, Eastern, was not an option, given it's all white status.
“I have mixed emotions” said Watson, who graduated from D.C. Teacher’s College and eventually retired after government sector employment, of Spingarn’s ‘transition’. “You’ve got to renovate the school…But you lose the alumni – you just can’t lose the historical value”.
Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III agreed Wednesday afternoon; after indicating the school’s closure is “ a sign of the times I guess…somebody has to make hard decisions” and “change is difficult”, he expressed confidence Spingarn’s history will be safeguarded, as “ the alumni base there and people that care about Spingarn will make that happen in some regard”.
Said athletic history is on display in the gym, with banners recognizing great players like Dave Bing and Elgin Baylor – both hall of fame member in basketball – plus eventually NBA player Sherman Douglass and All-American/future collegiate coach Will Jones, dotting its walls.
Under their watch, the Green Wave fell to Eastern (DC) 63-49. Sophomore guard Dujuan Greene led all scores with 26 points for Eastern, while fellow classmate and back court performer Anthony Broadus supplied 21. Both added a pair of assists.
Jerome 'KC' West must take his skills elsewhere next year.
Spingarn led 31-30 at intermission, before suffering a 12-4, Eastern run. The Ramblers’ lead expanded, as they employed a 1-2-2 defense that seemed to frustrate Spingarn. Going into the fourth quarter leading 49-39, the Ramblers basically engaged their stall game with half the quarter left.
Eastern, a young team sporting mostly sophomores is presently 6-12 on the season, 5-6 in the DCIAA East, which includes winning four of their last six. The Ramblers travel to McKinley Tech (DC) on Thursday, for a 5p tip-off.
Junior guard Jerome ‘KC’ West led Spingarn (7-12, 6-4) in scoring with 18 points, while fellow guard, senior Garrett Washington notched 15. The Green Wave strap up Thursday for the last time at home, when they face Luke C. Moore, starting at 7p.
After shaking hands, the Green Wave players trudged off the court, eventually entering the February evening to return home. As they departed, and looking around at the history evident in that gym, it became obvious not only are these kids leaving now and at the end of the year, but the connection Spingarn has in DC could float away as well.
It was almost as if the green waves adoring it’s gym symbolically indicated Spingarn and it's history could be forever ‘lost at sea’; adrift in that unenviable place where history and connection travel when a city changes quickly, and nobody caretakes what was.
Garrett Washington – Standing 5’9” and weighing 165 pounds, Washington is quick, aggressive, can pull up from deep and attack the tin. He’s an offensive minded guard.
For college, Washington needs to be a point guard, and as such do a better job understanding situations.
Garrett has been offered a football scholarship to Eastern Kentucky, and is also coveted as a track athlete for Spingarn.
Anthony Broadus – A sophomore, Broadus, at 6’2”, 170 pounds, can play both guard positions. Likes to find people, attack the tin and shoot the long ball for Eastern.
Needs to get stronger for college, and concentrate even more on being a point guard.
Dajuan Greene – Eastern’s best penetrator, this 5’9”, 170 pound sophomore guard blasts past opponents, where he challenges players at the rim.
Must work on his jump shot, as well as become a true point guard –
presently he’s a two that can be a one.
2013 i95Ballerz.com. This website is a supplier of information unaffiliated with any high school, AAU/travel, college, university, or professional team. All Rights Reserved