Lions entertain, take on Evart school staff

EVART — The audience roared as 7-year-old Farrah Bisel dunked the basketball into the hoop Saturday at Evart High School.

Farrah was held in the air by former Detroit Lions tight end Rob Rubik who spotted her in the crowd and brought her on to the court during the game between the Lions and the Evart school staff.

“It was fun,” Farrah said.

Current and former members of the Detroit Lions football team came to Evart to take on the school staff in a game of basketball that left audience members cheering between fits of laughter.

The professionals enlisted the help of children to shoot free throws, pose for the crowd and even wear Rubik’s shoes. Players let the referee shoot a three-pointer and even took off one of an Evart staff member’s pink shoes because they were “too loud,” in the game that focused more on fun than competition.

Two of the visiting Lions players, David Kircus and Eric Fowler, are currently on the team, and the other four players Rob Rubik, George Jaminson, Herman Moore and Cory Schlesinger are Lions alumni.

“The kids are just excited to see a professional player,” said Evart Athletic Boosters president, Steve Kitchen. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

Around 700 people came to the event held after the annual Evart High School alumni game. Organizers estimate $5,000 was raised for Evart Athletic Boosters, similar to last year’s event.

At halftime, the players signed autographs for children and parents.

Kitchen remembered the Lions coming to Evart for a similar event when he was ten years old and said when he became the president of the School Board in 2008, he hoped to put on the event again.

“I said, “I’m going to give the Lions a call and see if they still do that,”” Kitchen said.

He was put in contact with Rubik who agreed to gather some players and come to Evart last year for the fundraising event and again this year.

The Evart Athletic Boosters advertised the event in newspapers and sent flyers home with students a month in advance. Kitchen said they plan on holding the event in April next year, because more players may be able to come. The event serves as one of the largest fundraisers for the boosters along with the organization’s annual golf outing.