On Saturday, May 5, the gymnasium at Cadillac High School hosted an annual basketball game fundraiser between the Cadillac Firefighters Association and a team of six former NFL players for the Detroit Lions. The two teams faced off for an afternoon jam-packed with laughs, hijinks, and family-friendly fun, featuring upbeat music from the Cadillac High School Marching Band, to make this event unforgettable for the community.
Tickets were $15, and proceeds from the event supported training for the Cadillac Firefighters Union No. 704. A portion of the funds, which each year total about $2,500, were also donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, local food banks, and the Cadillac Area Backpack Program, which provides nutritious food items to elementary-age children and Cooley High School students who have limited access to meals when they leave school for the weekend.
Detroit Lions players who volunteered their time for this feel-good event included former NFL wide receiver Herman Moore, offensive tackle Lomas Brown, tight end Rob Rubick, and fullback Cory Schlesinger. Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic, and both teams were happy to involve kids from the audience to make positive, playful contributions throughout the game.
One girl dribbled down the court and shot for the firefighters—she was unstoppable against the Lions defense! Herman Moore and Lomas Brown raised a young boy up to the hoop so he could slam dunk for the Lions with the whole community cheering him on. This game was such an awesome, energetic, and genuinely heartwarming experience for all ages! I had a blast taking part in this charity event for the first time with my boyfriend and his parents, uncle, cousin, and nephews.
Throughout the afternoon, several Lions players wandered around the bleachers selling concessions, inviting fans onto the court to play along, and starting random competitions, including a spontaneous contest to see who had bigger muscles: Cory Schlesinger or a four-year-old. Of course the kid won! An older man played along, too, walking onto the court to show off his Packers sweater, teasing the Lions team, and giving the crowd a good laugh.
The team signed autographs for fans before and after the game, and lines formed at halftime for pictures with the players—I got a football signed by Moore, Brown, Rubick, and Schlesinger for my dad. The Detroit Lions may have won this year’s tournament, but the real winner was the Cadillac community, who had the incredible opportunity to meet and play ball for fun alongside former athletic pros.
I hope to go again next spring to help support the Cadillac community. I had so much fun at this event that brought locals and former Detroit Lions players together for an afternoon of giving back. Thanks for the Detroit Lions for generously sharing their time and talent with Northern Michigan for a great cause!