Tohono O'odham basketball team finds community, advocacy through hoops
The Pima Community College West Campus gym goes silent, and then the drums start again.
They form a circle at midcourt, men and women, chanting and singing a beautiful rhythm that has sustained them for who knows how long? Centuries? Millennia? They are surrounded by a living, breathing rainbow of women, dancing and bobbing to the music, floor-length skirts of all colors pulsating to the beat, with ornate baskets, proudly held high, thrust into the air.
It is halftime of the 6 p.m. showdown at the Native American Classic basketball tournament between Tohono-O’odham Community College — whose head coach, Matt Vargas, conceptualized, scheduled and executed the event for the second straight year — and Salt Lake Community College, the defending national champions.