MADISON, NJ -Hundreds of Madison kids were hoarse (and their parents nearly deaf) after attending the Harlem Wizards game Wednesday night at Madison High School (MHS). The annual event is one of the most anticipated among those who dream of someday making a three-point buzzer beater to win the big game, and one of the most dreaded by parents who hope to spend a quiet evening at home.
“I’ll never do that again...until next year,” said a Torey J. Sabatini parent.
The game is a fundraiser for the Graduation Gala, a drug and alcohol-free event for MHS seniors taking place this year at an exciting venue at the Branchburg Sports Complex. A highlight of the event was the Professors of Phunk, a team made up of 22 teachers from the Madison School District, who were the Wizard’s worthy opponents. This year, 860 tickets were sold -- the maximum allowed.
“It really is a great evening of high-quality family entertainment at a reasonable price,” said MHS nurse Diane Fastiggi, who chaired the event. “If you look around the gym, there isn’t one person without a smile.”
Earlier in the day it was obvious how much of a success the event was going to be when multiple parents posted to a local Facebook group in search of tickets. One parent joked that he saw a pair for sale on Stubhub from someone who was also willing to trade Hamilton tickets.
A highlight of the game included Mrs. Pehowic, a 20+ year Madison School District veteran currently teaching second grade at King’s Road School (KRS) trying her best to make her signature underhanded shot. Another highlight was a Wizard holding a student over his head like Simba in “The Lion King,” and yet another was when the Wizard player known as “King Arthur” kept finding various relatives in the stands.
“The Harlem Wizards game is an incredible event that brings together teachers, students, and members from the Madison community in a fun and inviting way,” said Mike Bruner, MHS freshman basketball coach and teacher at KRS. “My students were entertained and amused with the game, but not with my dancing or missed shots.”
Wizkids, who paid for special seating and their own Harlem Wizard jerseys, were treated to a number of perks, including valuable court time with all of the players.
“I had so much fun -- it’s really hard to pick my favorite part of the night,” said a third grader from Central Avenue School.
The event ended with nearly 400 kids joining the Wizards on the court to do the “Whip” and the “Nae Nae,” and there were reports of some parents dancing, too. All of the Harlem Wizards were on hand afterwards to autograph basketballs, posters and whatever else the kids had for them to sign.
“We are already planning for next year’s event,” said Fastiggi. “So buy your tickets early!”