Team Hollywood brings superheroes to town

The lights dimmed and a hush fell over the packed Wrangell High gymnasium, where the school had gathered to watch Team Hollywood celebrity streetball perform on Feb. 21.

Orchestral music filled the room as a spotlight illuminated a masked figure, hanging upside down from a basketball hoop. Batman, or Tommy Adams, formerly of the NBA summer league, dropped to the floor while Black Panther, or football player and Disney actor Maurice "Mo" Woodward, climbed down a rope suspended from the balcony. The pair circled each other, sizing each other up, before engaging in an intricately choreographed, stunt-filled fight.

More superheroes entered the gym (including the Wrangell Cooperative Association's own Esther Aaltséen Reese dressed as Wonder Woman) until the opposing Marvel and DC teams were powerful enough to effect mutually assured destruction.

Just in time, Team Hollywood founder Pete Adams intervened, putting a stop to the comic book brinksmanship. "We're trying to play a game of basketball in Wrangell," he said. "They're DC and we're Marvel, but we can play together as one. We're going to play together as one and not bully." He brought the sparring franchises to a détente by suggesting a game of dodgeball, superheroes versus students. The students won.

"What I do is I teach people to become superheroes," said Adams during the event's opening speech. He asked audience members for their definitions of a superhero.

"Somebody who motivates and gets the most out of the people around them," said social studies teacher Jim Brooks.

"Somebody who sticks up for other people," said senior Leroy Wynne.

"Someone who helps someone," said middle schooler Clara Carney.

After reflecting on the importance of supporting others, Adams tapped Wrangell's best three-point shooters for a free throw contest against the Team Hollywood players.

After the students displayed their athletic prowess - and the teachers showed off their dance moves to the tune of "Rolex" by Ayo & Teo - the event's organizers shared inspirational messages with the audience. "Sometimes your goals can be far-fetched," said professional soccer player Roman Adams. "But if you keep working hard and don't let other people get in your ear, you can make it."

"Stay level-headed. Stay focused," said Tommy Adams.

Woodward encouraged the students to rely on their friends and loved ones to get through dark times.

Ninth-grader Boomchain Loucks, who participated in the event's improvised skits, called the assembly "really fun" and "one-of-a-kind." His favorite part was when Batman hung from the basketball hoop; he didn't have a least favorite part.

Eighth-grader Aadyn Gillen enjoyed the assembly so much that he attended the afternoon and evening showings. "The activities that they did seemed fun," he said. "And I didn't get the chance to do any at first." At the evening show, he participated in the three-point contest, the three-on-three game and a teambuilding activity involving a bucket full of water.

Team Hollywood was brought to Wrangell by the WCA, with funding from the SEARHC Healthy is Here program.


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