In the spring of 2016, a group of friends at Northwestern University came together with a purpose and a passion — bring the campus together while benefitting underprivileged Chicago kids, all through a shared love of basketball. Over the course of their spring quarter, this small group planned and executed the first ever Spring Slam Streetball Classic, held on the outdoor Bobb-McCulloch courts on Northwestern's campus in Evanston, Illinois.
The two-day event featured students from across the university, undergraduates and graduates alike, a food truck, and vibrant crowd support. But what this founding group came to realize was that the event was about so much more than the competition — it was an infectiously positive community event. Sports, spring weather, school camaraderie all meshed to create a perfect storm of enthusiasm and excitement.
Spring Slam's mission is to give back to the community - more specifically - to the Sports Shed organization, while bringing communities together through athletics.
What is so special about sports is that it brings out the best type of energy in everyone, players and onlookers alike. It is the epitome of exerting personal effort while recognizing the efforts of others, pushing to achieve while maintaining a strategic perspective, challenging others around you while respecting their abilities and their character. Sports brings out an infectious enthusiasm that spreads with ease, and we've witnessed this. We watched friends rally around each other in support and saw smiles on the faces of participants who put forth a heroic effort, to fall just short of advancing. The feeling of an event of this nature is inherently and overwhelmingly positive. Our goal is to capture people’s energy when they are at their best, when they are their most enthusiastic, for such a deserving mission. For many of us, the opportunity to play sports was always available, but as an organization, we'd like to make that opportunity available to everyone.
In addition to facilitating our annual signature event, fundraising, and raising awareness for The Sports Shed, we are working to expand our influence to the communities surrounding our participating campus. We saw last spring, more than ever, that sports is an incredibly effective means of spreading good intentions and spirit. Going forward, we will be working to bring basketball tournaments, clinics, and other relevant events to the youth populations of these surrounding areas.