Seven years ago, Officer Ryan Walker pitched the idea of a 3-on-3 tournament, where each team would be made up of a local police officer, a young person from the community and a representative from a local church.
Since then, it has become an annual tradition that we look forward to in our neighborhood. It has taken on more significance than just a fun day to play together.
In the past several years, when community relations with the Costa Mesa Police have become strained, C3 reminded us that we are on the same team. When we are all together, everything feels right.
C3 is a day when my neighbors offer hospitality to our city. This year, we invited several community agencies to share information about the services they offer.
In addition to the Costa Mesa Police Department, we had eight churches represented, and members from five neighborhoods played.
Local businesses participated by giving prizes and recruiting players. The Neighborhood Action Committee from Shalimar was our host.
Those who are often offered services, served. Those who are often seen as recipients were those who gave.
Petra and Susana opened up their homes for the players and volunteers to use the restrooms. Veronica donated the tables and chairs. Chevo loaned us his truck to move the hoops. And Don Mario gave the welcome on behalf of the neighbors.
Last Saturday, I witnessed my neighbors offer their homes, their energy and their resources to our city.
Their hard work to host the event and their generosity communicated, "Welcome, come in. We want to know you. We want you to know us."
Cops gave up their time and shed their uniforms to engage with neighbors in a fun way.
This is not about solving problems together. It is not about busting anyone. It is about being together, learning each other's names and playing on the same team. It is an opportunity to look beyond status and profession, and be neighborly.