Bards of the Hardwood: Acclaimed Authors Mean to Prove They Got Game of a Different Kind
Tuesday, November 8 2011
MOSCOW, Idaho – They’re giving up their day jobs for an evening on the court. As part of Native American Heritage Month, and in celebration of community and education, award-winning authors, former star players, and local scholars will go head-to-head in a five-on-five basketball game at the University of Idaho’s Memorial Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
HooPalousa will feature National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie, along with Chief James Allan, Coeur d’Alene tribal chairman; Brooklyn D. Baptiste, Nez Perce tribal chairman; Shann Ray Ferch, author and former pro player; Buddy Levy, author, journalist and co-host on the History Channel; David Pendergraft, Gonzaga stand-out; Bob Sobotta, former college basketball player; Jonathan Takes Enemy, Montana basketball legend; and Jess Walter, National Book Award finalist. The Vandal Nation Singers will perform, and the Native American Student Association will provide concessions and a 50/50 raffle. An autograph and book signing will be held after the game. Readers and fans of all ages are encouraged to come. Admission is free.
“This is an unprecedented coming together of acclaimed authors, tribal representatives, and an amazing roster of legendary players from throughout the region,” said Kim Barnes, professor of creative writing. “But don’t forget that our roster also includes high school hoopsters, middle-age scholars, and weekend wannabes who are donating their time and their health to prove that they got game.”
Barnes, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, planted the seeds for HooPalousa when she invited several authors from Spokane, Wash., to speak to her novel writing class. She knew that the authors loved basketball almost as much as books and offered to organize a 3-on-3 game during the visit. One of those authors, Jess Walter, invited Sherman Alexie to prove his talent, not as a writer, but as a hoopster. From there, HooPalousa took on a life of its own. Other authors, basketball players, and scholars took an interest, and soon a friendly rivalry was born between the Spokane Dirty Realists and the Moscow SuperSonnets.
“It’s serious fun for a serious cause,” say Barnes.
While HooPalousa celebrates Native American heritage and the successes seen by native authors and players, it also is a chance to bring awareness to the university’s creation of an American Indian Graduate Fellowship Fund in creative writing.
“Sherman Alexie, who is Spokane-Coeur d’Alene, often says that he also belongs to the tribes of bookworms and basketball players, and that is what this game is about – an affirmation of that magical place where writing stories, playing basketball and Native American culture converge,” said Barnes.
Players from both teams will represent the Moscow and Spokane, Wash., areas. Filling out the roster for the Moscow SuperSonnets, coached by Chase Colton, are Eric Greenwell, Luis Guerrero, Jordan Hartt, Hunter Levy, Steve Martin, David Sigler, Arthur Taylor, David Thacker, and Aaron Thomas. Aaron Jennings, Brad Meyers, Jeff Nelson and Ben Shors will join the Spokane Dirty Realists, coached by Sam Ligon.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information about HooPalousa, visit www.uidaho.edu/class/english/events-and-news/hoopalousa
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to more than 70 additional research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu