4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Coopersville boys basketball organizing peaceful protest at State Capitol for winter sports

Protest moved to Saturday at State Capitol
Coopersville boys basketball practice
Posted at 1:48 PM, Jan 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-23 14:31:42-05

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. — After yet another crushing blow for winter sports on Friday morning, the Coopersville boys basketball team is hoping to create change.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced during a press conference that high school contact sports will be unable to begin until at least February 21.

"We want our season and we worked too hard to let it go to waste," said Coopersville season, Ethan Coady.

Coady, along with five other seniors on the Broncos roster, are organizing a peaceful protest at the state capitol on Saturday, January 30 at Noon.
"We are doing this because to us, basketball isn't just a game, it's our lives. We get excited to go and play with our friends and not have to stress about everything going on in the world, it's an outlet," Coady told FOX 17.

Pete VanKempen is entering his twelfth season as the varsity boys basketball coach at Coopersville and says his players approached him with the idea on Friday, after the announcement.

"This is all driven by them," VanKempen said, "I have a senior led group, they came to me and said, 'coach, what would you think if we organized some sort of protest?'"

And he was in total support.

"I told them, 'guys, it's your season, I support you in whatever you guys want to do, as long as it's legal,' and that's how it started."

The team is now hoping to spread the word to other coaches, athletes and parents across the state who are passionate about winter sports returning.

"If you want to play, it's definitely worth coming," Coady said.

Social distancing and certain protocols will be followed as best as possible.

"My only message is that if you really, really want something, you have to be willing to stand-up for it," VanKempen added on his message to those interested in attending.

VanKempen says in today's climate of everyone being on social media, he's hoping that turns into a great turnout of peaceful supporters.

"You can't just sit behind a computer and type, you have to show up and do something, stand-up and put your name on it. Our kids are willing to put our school and names on it to fight for this, I respect anybody who does that for what they believe," he added.

More details will be discussed and announced as Thursday gets closer, attending the team.