Over the weekend, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, to work the the Shell Twilight Basketball Tournament. PPI-NI Fellows Megan Lynch and Chris Schumerth made the trip with three of our sessional coaches: James Hughes, Keelan Cairns and Ben Scullion. We were graciously hosted by the working team at Twilight Basketball, a group that has similar aims as us with the game of basketball.
The tournament brought in players and teams from locations across Scotland while also providing evening educational “timeouts” to encourage healthy lifestyles. Approximately 400 young people, ranging from ages 11-21, participated.
This led really nicely into our second activity, the Gate Game, which focused on discrimination. As far as the game goes, the facilitator picks a physical characteristic (hair color, eye color, gender, etc) and praises participants that share that characteristic while punishing those who do not (jumping jacks, push-ups, the chicken dance, etc).
After completing the activity, we brought the participants together to hold a discussion about how they felt the game went. We then asked whether anyone was on the good side every time or on the bad side every time.
Eventually the participants would catch on to the pattern, some groups needing a bit more help to realize what we had done. Once it dawned on them that we had picked qualities about ourselves and rewarded people that were like us, we asked whether they thought that was fair and whether that happens in real life. At the close of one of our discussions one of the participants said, “It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from, you should still be nice to each other.”
PPI-NI returned from our Glasgow trip inspired by the good work Twilight is doing in Scotland, and we look forward to more opportunities to work together. Must have been St. Paddy’s Day luck, but we even got to walk on to the famous Celtic Park football pitch and catch a Glasgow Rocks‘ win.