Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Atlanta to host Inner City Games
September 8, Hotlanta High School and college football fans will get a chance to wallow in the sport thanks to the 1st Inner City Classic at the newly refurbished Lakewood Stadium.
The concept is the brainchild of former NFL wide receiver Daniel “Danny” Buggs. The local yokel from metro Atlanta’s Scottdale community has created a youth mentoring group called the Winning Circle.
“I am a blessed man,” said the devoutly religious Buggs who was once connected in a big way with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “ I have seen how it’s done at the high school, major college and professional sports levels. I decided early-on that I’d take what I leaned and bring it back home.”
Buggs, who worked extensively with black colleges during his stint with FCA, thought Atlanta the ideal venue for his idea to fete high school and college football action in one Saturday. He and his erudite staff have come up with some enviable matchups on the 8th.
The day kicks off with a high school game between Benjamin Mays High (the 2011 city champs) against the Wolverines of Miller Grove High School. That afternoon, celebrated Southwest DeKalb High School faces arch-rival Martin Luther King and the nightcap features the Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith University against the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University.
Activities begin on Friday with a prayer dinner. A pre-game parade featuring as many as 12 bands will be held Saturday morning. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit each school’s athletic program. Donations will also be made to the HOPE scholarship fund and the United Negro College Fund. Monies raised will also allow the Winning Circle to provide jobs for other staff who will help the organization with their mentorship, after school and student enrichment programs.
“ We’re not trying to prosper for prosper’s sake,” Buggs tells INSIDE. ” The athletes who participate will be given shoes, commemorative gold watches and athletic bags. We will also reach out to seniors. The idea is to allow them to mentor to college youth, then they mentor to high schoolers who then reach out to the middle schools and they in turn reach out to elementary students. That’s how the name Winning Circle came about. We are also bringing in Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and other high schools. We want these games to engulf the entire community.”
Buggs says his bigger vision is to have each of the nation’s HBCU football conferences represented at the game. “I’ll get that done within 3 years. This has been a vision of mine for many years, Atlanta is ready for this.”
For more information, call 304-685-3077 or e-mail Buggs at dbuggs.twc at gmail.com
XTRA POINTS: My deep condolences to the family of my friend and colleague Ernest Reese. Most folks don’t know how much he advocated on behalf of black college athletic programs here in Atlanta and across the country to other so-called major press. When Ernie retired, the advocacy stopped and so did any consistent coverage of HBCU sports. Reese is a Jackson, Mississippi native and a graduate of Alcorn State University…..
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net