"Frat games" hope to inspire college dreams of African Americans
Inglewood City Councilman Daniel Tabor is a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but as Matt Kemp and James Loney took on the Florida Marlins at Chavez Ravine on Sunday afternoon, Tabor was concentrating on a different diamond.
Each Sunday since July 5, Tabor has been hosting and playing in the “Frat Games” at Darby Park in Inglewood, where alumni from four historically black fraternities challenge each other to games of softball in hopes of inspiring young African Americans to go to college and at the same time rekindling the alumni’s old bonds.
“Black fraternities and sororities were founded by black college students who sought to give the black man or woman who were fortunate to be attending a college or university in the early 1900’s a place to belong and a support network based on the ideals of academic excellence and leadership and responsibility,” Tabor said.
Tabor said hundreds of people watch the games each Sunday and eat at the snack bar while listening to a DJ call the plays and spin music. Alumni from each of the four fraternities make up the teams: Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Phi Beta Sigma.
This year’s championship will be Aug. 23.
Tabor said the league has been an on-and-off in tradition in Southern California, dating back to at least the mid-1970s.
“I am an old hand, having first played in these games in 1975 to 1978. Now my six grandchildren come and watch grandpa hang with the 20- and 30-somethings,” Tabor said. “While my body seems to resent the physical play, my mind and spirit are energized by the bond of fraternity and the spirit of common experiences and goals shared by these college-educated black men and women.”
-- Ari B. Bloomekatz