But on Monday, the Carrollton High School girls basketball coach will definitely see the best of the best do work between the lines in the gymnasium he’s called home for so long.
As part of its “Take the Show on the Road” tour, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream will hold an open practice at Carrollton High, which will be part of an entire evening of activities promoting female athletics and health.
The event, hosted by the Lady Trojans, is open to the public and will run from 3:30-8 p.m., with the Dream practicing from 6-8 p.m. Along with the opportunity to watch a live practice as the Dream prepare for the postseason, fans will have the opportunity to win prizes and get autographs from the team’s players and coaches.
In addition, a community fair focusing on health awareness will take place from 3:30-6 p.m. Companies participating in the event include Tanner Medical Center, Southern Crescent Area Agency on Aging, the Army and representatives from the Malcolm Omari Hill Scholarship fund to promote Safe Driving.
Thomaston said the opportunity to be one of six high schools across the state to host the Dream — the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, led by 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Angel McCoughtry — was one he couldn’t pass up.
“It’s huge. I mean, we’ve tried here lately to get big into doing events that’s going to actually broaden our kids’ horizons a little bit,” Thomaston said. “And we were actually approached by a young lady named Beth Walsh, who is the representative with the Dream, about trying to venture together and do something like this. I immediately thought that this can only be a win-win if we can make this happen.”
Along with taking in some September basketball, the other focus of the event is promoting women’s health. Thomaston said as a coach of young women, it’s something that’s always been close to his heart.
“From the health standpoint part of it, women go through things that us men can’t understand and won’t ever understand,” he said. “You know, just bringing that awareness of health for women to the forefront. At this time, I just felt like it would be something that’s overdue.
“It kind of reminds me of the thing everybody does for cancer. It promotes women and the things that they go through in life. I just thought that this would kind of tie into that a little bit. Of course, it’s a little different from that. But I thought it all kinds of falls under the same umbrella.”
Of course, the Lady Trojans are excited to host such a special event, especially after the Dream invited them to be their special guest at a game last week, where the Lady Trojans were recognized on the court before the game.
“They made a fan tunnel that the team got to run out of the locker room from,” Thomaston said. “Two of my kids [Taylor Love and Tasmine Boykin] were co-captains for that day. They went to center court as captains to do their thing before the game started. Then there was a ball exchange as they announced each member of the Dream’s team and each player gave each kid on my team a basketball. So all this is taking place while everybody in the stands is watching and just seeing that Carrollton was on that court. It really recognized my girls in a great way.”
And now the Lady Trojans are the ones serving as hosts, something Thomaston feels may be even more special to them.
“Just with our name being on it, it just makes my kids feel like they’ve done something huge,” Thomaston said. “I think it’s going to be more than just for the community. I think it’ll bring my team closer together knowing that they’re doing this as a unit. It’s a big-time thing and I think once we pull it off, it’s going to be a huge accomplishment for my kids to say, ‘Man, we made this happen.’”
The Lady Trojan coach also wanted to recognize and thank all the people in the community that helped bring this event to Carrollton.
“I can’t mention all of them, but I do want to thank everybody that had anything to do with us being able to make this happen. Because when it boils down to it, we were only a small part of what went into making this happen,” Thomaston said. “So I just want to thank everybody for their hard work and energy that they put into helping us make this a part of Carrollton’s community.”