SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — About 60 students from Paradise High School JV and varsity basketball teams attended Sunday night’s Sacramento Kings game for free. A much-needed break for them after the Camp Fire destroyed their town. “I’m very excited,” said Ben Baber, a varsity player. He saw the night as a chance to escape. “It’s fun. It’s a good distraction,” he said.
Baber’s family lost two homes in Paradise. He said he was just happy to watch his favorite King’s player D’Aaron Fox.
Then there’s JV player Ethan Swart. “Lost a house, but just happy to be here,” he said. His father Ronald Swart is a big factor behind the free tickets to the game. “It’s good to see the boys smile and the girls smile,” said Ronald Swart.
After losing their home to the fire, Ronald, who manages the Outback restaurant in Chico said his boss stepped in to help. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s a call to duty to take care of your people and take care of the community that you work in,” said Cerca Trova CEO, Steve Weigel.
That includes buying Kings tickets for members of the Paradise High School men and women’s basketball teams. Ronald says being at the game is twofold. It brings the students together. “Paradise is a proud community when they are really behind their athletics and this season they are getting ready to start and they are some really good players,” he said.
It also puts a smile on their faces.
“They don’t care about the fire right now. They don’t care about any of that. They can about being together and watching the Kings play basketball,” he added.
Something Ben is more than happy to be a part of. “You kind of forget about it all we just get to be together and have fun so that’s the best part about it,” he said.