On Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, PeacePlayers International-Northern Ireland partnered with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Irish Football Association (IFA) and Ulster Rugby for the North Belfast Game of Three Halves at Ballysillian Leisure Centre.
This event gave young people from both of the major traditions in North Belfast the opportunity to participate in the three most popular sports in Northern Ireland, some of which they may or may not have played before. All of the participating organizations and PPI-NI designed the event to create a safe and inclusive environment for the young people to play Gaelic Football, Soccer and Rugby, as well as participate in PPI-NI teambuilding and community relations activities.
Leadership Development Program Coordinator, Darryl Petticrew, led the participants in two community relations discussions. The first was Thoughts Passing and Perfect Teammate Qualities. The second CR discussion, Perfect Teammate Qualities(as shown in the above picture), asked the participants what their ideal qualities of a soccer player, rugby player, gaelic player and a basketball player would be.
Participants had to discuss which was more important if they were friendly or tall, a good-shooter or a good teammate or whether religion played an important role. The North Belfast children posed some interesting questions and learned a lot from each other.
Game of Three Halves participants were joined by some local celebrities on the day, including US Consul General, Kamala S. Lakhdhi, who took some time to meet some of the children and the coaches of the three sports. One of the North Belfast pupils had a profound question to ask the US Consul General: “Do you eat hamburgers?”. The answer was extremely important as it was a debated point during the First Thoughts discussion, as many of the participants supported the stereotype of “ALL American’s eat hamburgers”.
The day was rounded up with a presentation ceremony for the winners of the Spirit and Hustle Awards, compered (hosted) by PPI-NI Chairman and Irish rugby legend, Trevor Ringland. The awards were presented by local sports personalities from Cliftonville FC, Ulster Rugby and Antrim GAA.
The unique dynamic served as a celebration of sport in Northern Ireland and helped develop positive relations between all of the young people involved, most of whom participate in PPI-NI’s Twinning Program.