"The athletic booster club came up with the idea as a fundraiser to help support the athletic program at Excel," said Excel Headmaster Davis Nelson, who also is chairman of the Bartow County School Board. "They're trying to think of something that would be different that not only people that were associated with Excel but other people would enjoy coming and participating in. So they thought of this game [because] the politicians are out there wanting to be seen and pastors are very visible in their churches. And we knew of a number of them who had been athletes in their past lives.
"So they decided that might be a neat thing to do and started contacting them. It's just been real positive, the response back that they've gotten from both groups. As a matter of fact, there's already been a few pastors here practicing in the mornings. [For the game], we're going to make sure we have some defibrillators on hand and oxygen," he jokingly added. "Tommy Harris and I were asked to do the coaching. I don't know if they felt like we couldn't make it up and down the court but I'm supposedly coaching the politicians and he's going to coach the pastors."
Starting at 5 p.m., the two-hour game will be held at Excel Christian Academy, 325 Old Mill Road in Cartersville. Led by Nelson and Harris, the two teams will include Pastors -- Dr. Joe E. Edwards, Mike Boatfield, Richard Brown, Charles Fluellen, Everett Hall, Eric Helms, Jacob King, Phillip Looney, Michael "Moose" Mosteller, Andy Postell and David Franklin; and Politicians -- Paul Battles, Gary Bell, Tom Graves, Barry Loudermilk, Travis Loudermilk, Clark Millsap, Matt Santini, Jayce Stepp, Steve Stewart, Bruce Thompson and Christian Coomer.
"If you're going to get guys 50 and older, all I got to say is they better have a defibrillator," said Franklin, associational missionary for the Bartow Baptist Association. "[At first] I thought these people are crazy to ask guys my age to do anything like that [but] I'm always for trying to help out community organizations that I believe in. I think it's crazy for me to be out there trying to do this but I am going to get out there and at least run up and down the court one time.
"I played 15 years ago before the orthopedic surgeon told me to quit and I played point guard in high school back in the '70s. And how Michael Jordan made it in the NBA and I didn't, I don't know. I'm sure I can dribble the ball off my foot without any trouble. Now the question is, 'Can I actually make a shot?' And boy, that's a real question [and] I think the answer probably is only if I get real lucky. I used to play a bunch but I have not played in a long time."
Tickets for the basketball game are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. To purchase tickets prior the game, contact Excel Christian Academy's high school office at 770-382-9488.