A feast fit for a king, or at least a feast fit for a king in the mind of sixth grader, was ready to eat last Wednesday at Oak Grove Community Center for a special occasion.
The center played host to a group of young basketball players, but it wasn't just any basketball players. They were family.
The Clarksville Crossovers 2025 AAU team might have just come off a championship season, but a few months ago they didn't even know where they'd practice.
The team, which has several players from Oak Grove, had no luck in Clarksville. The Queen City has a lot of AAU clubs, a lot of other teams, but not as many facilities.
Enter Melissa Lynch and the community center.
"They have some of our Oak Grove kids in their organization and we're trying to partner with our connecting cities to show that we're all as one. We're not individuals. Showing positives for the kids," Lynch said.
Over the course of those three practices a week, the relationship became more than just a community center and a place to practice.
"It really feels great," said head coach Darall Luckett. "Melissa and the staff here at the community center ... they're not just our sponsor, they adopted us. At this point in time, we feel like family."
It became greater than basketball. For Lynch, it was about unity. A unity born out of a hope for the future.
"I think that it's more a coming together, showing that ... we're not just one little community embracing just our people. We want to be partners with everybody, as one. It means a lot to them. If they're shown positive influences, then they can stay positive. We don't lose them to the streets. We don't lose them to gangs. We don't lose them to predators. We don't lose them to anybody."
The banquet was a surprise for the children, who all received certificates and got to pose on a red "carpet" on top of their feast.
"We enjoy them coming. They travel a lot and we just wanted to do something nice for them," Lynch said. "We had no problems out of them. They're very humble. The coach is very humble."
Luckett said the support he and his team received was more than he expected, but it was important nonetheless, especially for the team.
"To come in and see this kind of support and encouragement ... it just feels really, really good," he said. "I can see the look on the kids' faces, just how elated they are to see somebody supporting them like that. It means a lot to them. We wouldn't be able to do this without Melissa and her staff. We're not here just because of basketball. It really is about supporting these guys and helping them become better citizens."