In chapter nine of The Water is Wide, Pat notices that the boys enjoy playing basketball at school each day. To this end, he arranges to take them to a Harlem Globetrotters game when he discovers that they are coming to Charleston for a performance. Pat, Barbara, and Bernie work together to bring most of the boys to the arena, where they thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Pat, ever committed to teaching the boys about life beyond the island, brings in a number of his friends who are themselves interested in life on the island. This includes his sister, who spellbinds the children with numerous skits. Even among these sources of enjoyment, Pat reflects grimly on the tendency of the children to abuse animals, and their general indifference in the face of violence.