PPI-ME 2012 Peace League Tournament “Israeli and Palestinian Girls Balling Together”

The players take a break from their training to smile for the camera.

Intensity was high!  A year’s worth of hard work and determination at weekly practices and “Twinnings” compounded with the newfound knowledge of PPI – ME’s peacebuilding curriculum was finally culminating in a three hour event.  For the girls participating, it seemed so natural.  For onlookers, it was a pleasure to watch.

PPI – ME participants stretch in preparation for the big game.

Participating teams at PPI – ME’s annual Peace League Tournament hailed from East and West Jerusalem, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Mate Yehuda.  The girls have worked so hard to get to this point, and now, this was my time to see how they have progressed in basketball and leadership skills, attitude and behavior and sportsmanship.  It was beyond the intensity on the court, but rather the chemistry that spoke loud and clear: these girls are a family!

Participants were split into three integrated teams.  Once they were divided, they began playing against each other for a total of three games. Everyone was cheering during the tournament-style event – and not just for their own teams. The girls, who come from not only different areas of Jerusalem, but from very different upbringings, took an interest in the game when they weren’t the ones playing.  They sat in the stands with the other friends and families, and watched and cheered their new-found friends on the court.

Guest coaches provide feedback to their players during a time-out.

The Jerusalem All Stars (an integrated team that competes in the National Basketball League) proved to be the dominating team with some of PPI-ME’s most advanced Palestinian and Israeli players. They made their presence known on the court with an intense defense and a great chemistry on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor.

It was truly a victory for everyone!  At the end of the event, medals and trophies were distributed to all the victors.  Everyone had a great time!

GO TEAM PEACEPLAYERS!

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