This week’s post is written by Edniesha Curry. Moms, cousins and aunts from Ein Raffa’s youth program come together every Thursday for basketball practice, group discussions, and friendly banter.
Over the last few months, I have been in awe watching how the game of basketball, the game I LOVE, can bring children from completely different communities together. You can imagine my excitement when the mothers of the kids I’ve gotten so close to approached PPI – ME, after seeing how much fun their children were having, to see if we could start a team for them. Thus began my experience providing basketball training to a group of awesome women.
I’d like to mention here that participation in sports is not traditionally acceptable for Arab women – especially older Arab women – so this is really a rare opportunity for them to learn basketball in an organized setting and to have this outlet for physical fitness. While we spend most of our time working on their athletic skills, we always seem to find time to talk about food, kids and other girlie stuff. And, as we end each practice, I usually end up over a family’s house, talking and eating great food.
One bit of basketball advice I did have to teach them: Make sure to eat after practice. Last week, we had a little bit of a snail reaction due to some full stomachs. To say the least, we all got a good laugh out of it.
I have really enjoyed meeting these women and learning about their culture through basketball. But I’m not the only one getting a lot out of this relationship. According to Ranin, the coordinator for this group:
“The women are very pleased with what they get out of the basketball practices. They feel fresh and young. They especially enjoy the different creative routines they have learned.”
To top it off, it’s also very special for the children who are in PPI- ME to see their female role models enjoying the same game that they do.