WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

'First Ladies' Of The Goodman League Show Team Spirit

Play associated audio
The "First Ladies" of the Goodman League strike a pose at the basketball court in Barry Farms, in Southeast Washington D.C. Pictured from left is Tangie Travers, DNice Reeves, and Tya Travers.
Emily Berman
The "First Ladies" of the Goodman League strike a pose at the basketball court in Barry Farms, in Southeast Washington D.C. Pictured from left is Tangie Travers, DNice Reeves, and Tya Travers.

When you walk through the gates of the Goodman League, peoples' eyes are glued on the basketball players as they rush back and forth on the court, sweaty and tattooed. But there's plenty of other activity going on at the games located in the Southeast neighborhood of Barry Farm. There's quick-witted announcing by league commissioner, Miles Rawls, bleachers full of fans from all over the city and region and the smell of frying fish.

There's another presence at the game you may not expect. Along the midline of the court, three women, sometimes four, sit for nearly every game, in foldout canvas chairs.

They are called the First Ladies. Tangie Travers, of Hyattsville, Md., explains, "It's a respected name, and it came from coming to the games and showing support and showing love."

The women sit among other devoted fans affectionately called the "Season Ticket Holders" (although tickets are not actually required for the game). There are games six nights a week from June until September, and the First Ladies come to almost every single one.

Sometimes the First Ladies travel with the Goodman League teams as they play. Players include teenagers, college players and enthusiastic basketball players as old as 40.

One 47-year-old player called "Show Time" plays on the team, BF Crazies. "I am the smallest guy in the league, but the most effective guy. When you come to see me play, I give you what you're looking for."

The league's reputation for rowdy fans and serious competition attracts NBA players — Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant often returns to his hometown to play in the league — and former players who have since moved on from the League.

On a few occasions, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined the game. "I grew up playing summer leagues in Chicago," says Duncan. "This is great to be able to do the same thing here. Good ball, lot of fun, good break from day to day work."


[Music: "Nike Basketball Freestyle Remix" by afrika bambaataa & hydarulic funk (Album unknown) / "Auld Lang Syne" by Billy Vaughn from Passport Audio on Christmas Songs]

NPR

No Longer Omar: Actor Michael K. Williams On Lucky Breaks And Letting Go

Over the course of his career, Williams says he's learned to separate himself from his characters (like The Wire's Omar). In HBO's The Night Of, he plays a powerful prison inmate named Freddy.
NPR

#FoodPorn, Circa 1600s: Then And Now, It Was More About Status Than Appetite

A new study of old masters finds that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Like today's Instagrammers, it was all about projecting an image.
WAMU 88.5

The Legality Of Restoring Virginia Voting Rights

Virginia's governor is bypassing the commonwealth's Supreme Court ruling and restoring felon voting rights individually. Kojo examines Terry McAuliffe's move with a legal expert.

NPR

The Big Internet Brands Of The '90s — Where Are They Now?

Verizon's purchase of Yahoo will close the book on one of the oldest Internet companies. What happened to the other famous '90s brands, like GeoCities, Netscape and CompuServe? A nerdy remembrance.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.