- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 15:47
- Published on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 22:18
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It was an NFL hoop-to-hoops blast! On Saturday, the third annual Torrey Smith Celebrity All-Star Basketball game lived up to everyone’s expectations. The Stafford Senior High School gymnasium was nearly packed to capacity an hour before tip-off. Over 1,500 screaming fans were on the edge of their seats as NFL athletes from the Superbowl XLVII Champions Baltimore
Ravens and Washington Redskins battled for four quarters for court supremacy.
Fans witnessed gridiron professionals levitating about the rim, while finishing with their own brand of slam dunks, ally oops, behind-the-back-assists, and three-point bombs. The family affair featured famed Raven players with the likes of Smith, Ray Rice and Joe Flacco. In addition, former Spotsylvania resident, Joe Haden from the Cleveland Browns, also played for the Ravens team.
“People don’t get to see players like this in our area,” Smith said. “It’s not only a great opportunity for myself to bring these guys together to the community, but it’s great for the Redskins to travel farther south.”
On the adjacent side of the court, Redskins personnel included everyone from Redskin wide receiver, Leonard Hankerson to Brandon Banks. The NFL star-studded affair featured T-shirt tosses, honorary coach 30-second countdowns, honorary coach relay races, raffle drawings, and autographs.
“I remember being one of those kids in this area, where there was not much going on,” Smith said. “To be a part of this is great, and based on the online tweets, all of the kids have been looking forward to it.”
All ticket proceeds from the game benefit the Torrey Smith Foundation. The mission of Smith’s foundation is to provide support for at risk youth with physical education, academic assistance, and to focus on the financial challenges of at risk youth affected by domestic violence.
Stafford High School assistant principal and discipline for athletics coordinator Wes Bergazzi is one of the many Smith supporters who has made the game a premier event in the Fredericksburg area. “We enjoy helping Torrey with this charitable event, because it’s great for the community,” Bergazzi said. “Torrey is one of our great student athletes, and one of the great people in the community—we are just glad to help him.”
Fans were also asked to donate a canned good to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.
Originally from Colonial Beach, Smith benefited from Colonial Beach varsity baseball coach and athletic director Steve Swope’s sports camps. From his early years in Colonial Beach to his high school career at Stafford High School, Swope has faithfully followed Smith. Whether his former student athletes were NFL or corporate bound, Swope’s tireless efforts to motivate area youth are legendary.
“He was a very respectful, and considerate kid during his early years at Colonial Beach,” Swope said. “For him to have a Superbowl ring on his finger, and watching him hoist the Lombardi (Superbowl XLVII) trophy was a dream come true.”
From Colonial Beach to many ardent followers from across the country, Smith’s fan base has certainly taken off since the Baltimore Ravens selected him 58th overall in the 2011 NFL draft. “I certainly love him like a son, and he has made me proud, as well as the entire town of Colonial Beach,” Swope said. “We all wake up every day, cheering for Torrey; I can promise you that.”
Find photos from the game in The Journal's Photo Gallery.