The Harlem Globetrotters treated Department of Defense members and their families to an energetic evening of entertainment Nov. 10 at the Southside Fitness Center on Ramstein.
The 86th Force Support Squadron coordinated with Armed Forces Entertainment and Navy Entertainment to bring the basketball exhibition team to Ramstein.
“We’re so excited to have them as our guests and to bring a little bit of home across the ocean,” said Stacey Harness, 86 FSS base-wide special events coordinator. “Some of us have seen the Globetrotters many times and for others, it’s their first time…and everyone remembers their first time seeing them!”
The Globetrotters have performed for U.S. troops stationed overseas for more than 10 years, according to the group’s website.
Fatima Lister, Harlem Globetrotters guard, expressed her excitement about bringing the experience to the service members at Ramstein.
“We have a military tour every single year,” Lister said. “This is my first time doing the tour, and I’m really excited to just come and give back. It feels good to be able to come over here and give them a taste of home.”
“It feels like they’re really appreciative of us being here,” Fatimah added. “They’re super excited and very responsive to all the jokes and all the antics that we bring. We feel like the home team wherever we go.”
The team’s antics included short skits and dance segments in the middle of the game, a comic performance from Globie — the team’s mascot — and a demonstration of tricks called the magic circle.
Amid the applause, laughter and cheering which reverberated throughout the venue, it was apparent that the spectators were entertained. The Harlem Globetrotters’ performance made heavy use of crowd participation, which is a hallmark in their games.
Whether a team member jumps into the crowd or brings an audience member out to the court, the Harlem Globetrotters go through lengths to make the spectators feel like they’re a part of the show.
“It’s really fun to watch the reactions on kid’s faces when the Globetrotters make crazy shots or are running through the crowd with their crazy antics,” Harness said. “It’s great to see the excitement and thrill when they’re actually part of the game.”
Harness added that events like these are meant to lift the spirits of U.S. troops and their families overseas. This is why the 86 FSS works closely with Armed Forces Entertainment to help bring the troops closer to home, she said.
“The biggest reason to do these shows is to boost morale,” Harness said. “There’s nothing like bringing your favorite entertainers, musicians, comedians from the states to stir up a memory and help pump up your spirits. Any time Armed Forces Entertainment brings a show to Ramstein, 86 FSS is the point of contact.”
Lister said this was her team’s way of showing appreciation to service members overseas.
“They’re away from home — from the United States,” Lister said. “It feels good for us to bring a little bit of home to wherever they’re at: to give them some smiles and maybe take their minds off of anything they may be going through while abroad. It feels good for us to come back and do what we love to do and give back that way.”
Harness expresses her gratification at seeing events like the Harlem Globetrotters game come together, saying it feels rewarding seeing hard work pay off. Whether the squadron is bringing a sports team to play an exhibition game, a magician to enchant the audience or any other entertainer to bring smiles to the KMC, the 86 FSS will be there to give Ramstein’s Airmen a glimpse of home away from home, she added.
“It’s worth all the work we put in to an event, if the crowd leaves happy,” Harness said. “Some of these gigs require late hours and a lot of manual labor, but when you see folks leaving and they all have big smiles on their faces, you know you did your job. I just want to thank everyone for coming out to see the show. Keep your eyes open for what’s next!”