Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rocky reminisces about Daddy's Invitational Tournament

Robert Meachem, Rocky, Dominique Franks
and Rocky's son "Little Rock" front and center!
The Salvation Army North Mabee Boys & Girls Clubs hosts 20th DIT Friday night!

I always enjoy talking to Rocky Bright, a Mabee Baby and a North Mabee volunteer coach who founded the Daddy’s Invitational Tournament that will be held Friday evening. It’s the DIT’s 20th anniversary, so I thought I’d get the story of how the tournament started from Rocky himself.

“When I was a freshman at Booker T., I used to think ‘when I grow up and become a success, I’m going to give money to the club.’ Then I started wondering if I could actually raise money to help the club before I grew up.

“Along with March Madness, I  always watched the National Invitational Tournament, NIT, so I thought it would be cool to name a tournament the DIT, for the Daddys' Invitational Tournament. The ‘Daddys’ would be the fathers who coached their kids’ teams but who never got to play. They would play against each other, and the kids would get to call and referee the game and sell concessions.

“We saved money at the very first DIT by having baby blue and off, off yellow for the jerseys, even though the North Mabee colors are red and black. Mrs. Bright went to the Army Surplus store and bought them for 99 cents a shirt. Now they’re collectors’ items. Robbie Meachem’s Daddy has all 19 shirts.

“The first few years we used the money we made at DIT to fund sports equipment and uniforms. We still do that, but this year we’re also going to help support the Felix Jones II ACT Prep Program, which Mrs. Bright started.

“Last year Robbie (Meachem) showed up and brought Dominique Franks who had played for Union and now plays for the Atlanta Falcons. Every year I call these guys and ask them if they’re coming and they never know because their schedules are crazy, so I just never know who is going to show up. Felix (Jones) is going to try and come this year too,” Rocky said.

Rocky is seeking sponsors for the event. For more information call 918-0425-7534 or visit the club at 3001 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. -Sallie

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