The Cristo Rey Network has 32 schools across the U.S., so when two schools from other cities come together it is a rare moment. 

On Dec. 28, 2017, Cleveland Cristo Rey had the opportunity to compete against the Detroit Cristo Rey Wolves boys’ basketball team. It was a two-day stay in Detroit for Cleveland as they bonded and gained friendships with the Wolves.

The first day of the trip included a tour of the Detroit Historical Museum that was given by Cristo Rey Wolves trainer Coach Toby.

“The point of this trip was to get everyone culturally activated. I think it’s very important to travel and not just look around but also [get] an educational view on what created the city and (learn the) historical significance of where you traveled to," Toby said.”

Toby also makes a point of a significance that Detroit has an impact when it comes to People of Color whether it's hispanic or African-American kids. He also acknowledged many historical Detroit events during the tour.

After the tour the players went back to the school for a special presentation by sports psychologist, Lindsay Huddleston. His presentation inspired the players of career goals, communication, and self confidence as these are key components on being successful.

“It's a lifelong dream to give back and one of my long-time callings is to give back to the youth; to be able to have this platform to spread my message, not just based on sports but also on life,” said Huddleston.

Goal-setting is also another thing Huddleston discussed with the student-athletes as he mentioned the goals we are able to start now are goals we can work through our life. The goals we set make us better understand ourselves.

“It's not about what your friends or family want because it's about what you want and what your passion is and that's going to carry you through any and every adversity,” Huddleston said.

After the presentation the two teams talked, laughed, and ate dinner together to end day one together. At the table there was a bond as if they have all known each other their entire lives as they had a chance to talk about individual experiences whether it was about sports or school.

Coach Toby was honored to have the chance to bring this team to Detroit and show players the importance of going to different Cristo Rey Network schools and getting a chance to get to know one another.

As gameday began, there was a show of impressive and aggressive defense by Cleveland Cristo Rey in the first half. The game went by so quick thanks to strong offense by players like Robert Gray, a junior who would score 12 points, and Enrique Freeman, a senior who scored 10 points.

The second half of the matchup would turn close as Detroit would find a way to get passed Cleveland's formidable defense as players like Sam Stewart would have 13 points by the end of the game and Angel Jaramillo would have 26 points. The game would get close second by second until Cleveland took the advantage and took the dominant spot to win the game with a score of 70-59. Both teams after the game gave respects to one another over a passion they all share and stood together not as two separate schools but as the same at heart as all stood together for a team photo.

Robert Gray and Enrique Freeman were grateful to have the opportunity of being able to travel and meet new people and to be in a new environment. The whole trip they said gave them a new view of different cities and paid attention to all the different buildings and factories that make Detroit the “Motor City”. After the game they felt that their audience that was able to attend the game got the team going and showed appreciation for them.

“Our mental state went up and we played great defense,” said Freeman.

“Our crowd brings everything and whenever they come, they bring it,” said Gray

Currently Freeman is considering Geneva College and Gray is looking into the University of Cincinnati. But for now, the team’s biggest goal is to put a championship banner up at their home gym.

After the game Cristo Rey’s Angel Jaramillo gave his personal respect for a hard-fought game by Cleveland Cristo Rey and how different the competition was.

“They played a different brand of basketball and (they were) new competition and it felt great,” said Jaramillo.

Jaramillo was thankful for the opportunity to get to know the school and the students. Like many, he was impressed that two schools who have the same goals and passions could come together and compete not for a prize, but for mutual respect.