America has been in chaos for more than a week now following the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin.
At times like this, sport can play a positive societal role to help people remember that more unites us than divides us. Unfortunately organised sport is on hold because of covid-19. Yet it was inspiring to see a group of people in Philadelphia bring sport to the protests as a way to ease tensions.
One of the group members, Khalil Gardner stood by a basketball hoop with a sign which reads: "I've always used basketball to try to bring people together! Today I feel is a day we need that most! I have hand sanitizer if you'd like to play."
The group's effort seems to have been effective, as numerous people were seen enjoying themselves while playing. A police officer was even recorded taking part, though his effort left a lot to be desired.
They convinced a cop to play - his colleagues had to remind him to put his gun away before he took some shots. A couple others yelled for him to stop. pic.twitter.com/TC3dqYRDP6
— Nina Feldman (@ncannellf) June 2, 2020
The impromptu games have brought some badly-needed relief amid all the tension of the protests. The story was fortunately reported by Philidelphia journalist Nina Feldman after she had a chance encounter with the group.
According to Feldman, the mastermind behind the project was in fact a 26-year old woman named Stephania Ergemlidze. Perhaps it was all just an elaborate scheme by Stephania to show off her impressive skills. Here she can be seen here giving a police officer a good run for his money.
Ran across this scene today of a sheriff's deputy playing 1-on-1 with a 26-year-old Philly woman who is walking around the city with a hoop and offering a respite from these difficult times - her instagram is @stephaniae pic.twitter.com/tWhmBHYOmB
— Robert Moran (@RobertMoran215) June 2, 2020