Dec. 9, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - On Tuesday, members of the UC Santa Barbara men's and women's basketball teams gave out tickets for upcoming games to fire personnel who worked during the recent Tea and Gap Fires. The event is part of the Athletic Department's "Gauchos Give" community outreach program.
Players James Powell and Sam Phippen and assistant coach Jono Metzger-Jones from the men's team and players Lauren Pedersen and Whitney Warren along with head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and director of basketball operations Araceli Gil from the women's team also gave the fire fighters Gaucho basketball T-shirts and posters along with the tickets.
"These guys are heroes, they're out there saving lives and they put their lives on the line and their time on the line to help others, and that's really courageous," Powell said. "What we do is small. We just go out there and play a sport. We don't do anything but go out there and play five-on-five basketball while they're out there saving lives. What we do is nothing in comparison to what they do. Not at all."
Appearing at a pair of fire stations in the Santa Barbara area, the players and coaches expressed their thanks to the fire fighters for keeping the community safe and gave them 100 tickets to the men's game on Saturday, Dec. 13 vs. LMU and the women's game on Wednesday, Dec. 17 vs. Harvard. Both games tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome.
All emergency personnel who worked the Tea and Gap Fires can receive two free tickets to each game by showing their emergency personnel identification at the Thunderdome beginning one hour before the game.
"People that serve the community are always so important, but it becomes more important when you have a tragedy like the Tea Fire," Gottlieb said. "We wanted to take this opportunity to do what we can and give them some tickets, so I'm glad to be a part of it. When something happens like the Tea Fire, I think everyone's first inclination is to say how can I help, and obviously being part of the athletic department we feel like we can provide entertainment and maybe show them that we appreciate what they're doing. We're really focused on winning basketball games and getting better but there's always a bigger picture and a bigger focus, particularly with our program. How involved we are with the community is one of the things that makes us unique. I love that aspect of coaching and we want to continue to get our players out in the community as much as we can."
The men's game on Dec. 13 is a News-Press Kids to College Night meaning all fans 13 and under receive free admission. The women's game on Dec. 17 is a Coke Family Pack Night, which means that for $40, fans get four tickets, four T-shirts, four hot dogs and four Cokes. Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB, coming to the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or by clicking here.