EDITORIAL: Republicans step up to help York City event
- The Trey & Boo Classic is set for June 25-26 at Penn Park.
- The basketball tournament honors the memory of two former York High Bearcats.
- The financial help of two Republicans helped ensure the survival of the event.
Trey and Boo won't be forgotten — at least not this summer — and that's a very good thing.
Ca-trell “Trey” McCanic and Ricardo “Boo” Banks are two former standout basketball players at William Penn High School (known to most as York High). The pair tragically became homicide victims after their playing days with the Bearcats. McCanic played about 20 years ago, while Banks competed on the hardwood about a decade ago.
A half dozen years ago, a summer basketball tournament was started in the city to honor the former Bearcats. Unfortunately, the Trey & Boo Classic has been beset by some financial struggles, almost since its inception.
Paying city police fees has been a consistent stumbling block. It almost sidelined the tournament in 2013, and it became an issue again this year.
The event was in serious jeopardy when the city denied organizer Wayne Scott a special-event permit because he owed about $4,500 in police fees from the 2015 tournament.
Through a gofundme page, Scott raised half the amount — $2,250 — including a $50 donation from Joel Sears, a Spring Garden Township businessman who's running for the state House seat that includes York City. The Republican is running against incumbent Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, for the 95th House seat in November.
Scott said Sears then approached state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, whose district also covers York City. Wagner, who owns the trash disposal company Penn Waste, agreed to pay the rest of the bill.
Wagner may well be the most high profile — and controversial — politician in these parts. He's known for his strong conservative viewpoints and sometimes confrontational style.
The two Republicans should be lauded for stepping up to support a valued community event in a location — York City — that is a traditional Democratic stronghold. For once, politics didn't get in the way of doing the right thing.
Yes, a cynical argument could be made that Sears and Wagner offered their support for the event only in a ploy to garner city votes. That may well be true.
In this case, however, let's choose not to be cynical.
Sears and Wagner saw a problem, and they decided to do something to fix it. They deserve credit for that.
Because of them, and the donations of many others, the Trey & Boo Classic will survive for at least another year. This summer's event is set for June 25-26 at Penn Park.
Scott says the tournament brings more than 1,000 people to the city, and it's about much more than just basketball. There are other attractions, such as music, food, a dunk contest, a bounce house and face painting.
Yes, there have been a few problems at the event over the years, although Scott said there have been no police incidents at his tournament and no confrontations more heated than a few on-court scuffles. The police, however, disagree, citing a shooting around the corner from the event, a stolen car and a fight requiring police intervention.
Still, there's little doubt that an event such as this has value and should be continued. It gives young people a chance to engage in some friendly competition, brings loads of people into the city and honors the memory of two young men who lost their lives much too soon. It also allows the police an opportunity to connect — in a hopefully genial manner — with a city community that often views the cops with some distrust.
All of that will happen again this summer. Thankfully, Trey and Boo will not be forgotten.
We also shouldn't forget the two Republicans who helped ensure the survival of an event in a city dominated by Democrats.
In fact, that's something to celebrate.