By Jon Schroeder
The Cove Herald
On Saturday at Bulldawg Gymnasium, the Harlem Ambassadors came to Copperas Cove to play some basketball and continue sharing their education-based values.
They beat the Cove Hot Shots, a team comprised of local players sponsored by businesses, by a score of 70-39.
Every member of the professional team, the Ambassadors announced before the game, must have a degree or be actively working on one, and a positive drug test immediately and permanently disqualifies a player from the team.
The Harlem Ambassadors are subject to some of the most stringent drug testing in the country, said Sandie Prophete, the group’s star player and founding member who goes by “Ladè Majic” as an Ambassador.
Since its founding, the team has played all over the world, with stops including Iceland, Korea, England and Tahiti.
During each game, Prophete takes the role of troublemaker, humorously disputing referees’ calls, getting fans and players to dance and leading off several semi-planned skits.
While they announce their education and drug-free messages before each performance, there’s another which was played out Saturday through Prophete and another female teammate: “We want to empower little girls,” Prophete said. “Dream big, and you can do it.”
Prophete said another part of the group’s goal is to be positive role-models for kids. The media, she says, generally highlights athletes for the wrong reasons — for scandals rather than for doing good things. With more than 200 scheduled games every year, the Ambassadors hope to do their part to give kids better messages about athletes.
The game, now in its second year, is one organizers hope to make into an annual event in Cove. This year’s turnout was larger than last, with a few hundred people in attendance for the show.
This year’s event was more planned out than the 2007 incarnation of the event, when Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce President Marty Smith, Vice President Betty Price and Darrell Clemons, chairman of the Chamber Ambassadors, helped put it together over the course of only a few weeks.
“We scrambled last year, and we put it together,” he said, noting his appreciation for those who planned this year’s event.
Clemons said the event grew significantly from last year, although it might not have been apparent since the game was played in Copperas Cove High School’s new, larger gymnasium.
“Everybody had fun, and we raised some money,” said past Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Ira Brand, who served as “semi-coach” of the Hot Shots.
Money raised can be used by the Chamber Ambassadors for future events, although the amount raised hadn’t been tabulated by press time.
Zach Boyd and Daniel Luna, both members of the Cove Hot Shots, said they enjoyed their time playing against the Harlem Ambassadors.
Asked to describe the game, Boyd said, “humiliating,” with a laugh.
“No, it was fun,” he added.
Luna said the game was a good chance to get in shape, but his favorite part was when the Ambassadors brought a group of kids out on the court for an impromptu dance lesson.
Contact Jon Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 547-0428