Each year, PeacePlayers International – South Africa holds City Wide Tournaments in both June and November. The June tournament is carried out with the primary focus of bridging divides. Kids play not with the teammates from their school, but instead are split up amongst their peers to play on teams with learners from different communities and backgrounds. November however is reserved for a classic winner takes all event. In this week’s blog PPI-SA fellow Bryan Franklin reflects on the 24th City Wide Tournament.
The rain was threatening and the calls and texts were flowing in.
“Is the tournament still on?”
“Are we still playing today?”
“Is it raining in Durban?”
And for the more brief at heart, “City Wide?”
But there was something in the air Saturday. It was an aura of excitement, and on this day the rain knew to stay away. Sure there were a few sprinkles here and there, but the down pour held off, until the last 2 minutes of the last game of the afternoon, providing a closing ceremony of sorts.
PPI-SA’s 24th City Wide Tournament was a historic event that for the first time ever saw two teams from outside the PPI programme—NBA Africa and CAST—enter, and a total of eight different communities represented. In addition PPI staff and coaches were assisted by volunteers from We Are Durban throughout the day.
The tournament kicked off bright and early at 8:00AM with a performance from former PPI coach and current rapper/community activist Mhligo. The Primary School teams were then split up into 5 groups of three teams. Each team played each other once with the winner advancing onto a single elimination tournament. Due to some necessary schedule re-structuring because of rain, PPI was forced to cut the field down to four following group play, and launched straight into the semi-finals.
On the girls side, teams from Berea, Carrington, Durban and Sukuma Primary Schools advanced with Berea beating DPS and Carrington beating Sukuma to advance to the finals. As for the boy’s side, Addington, Carrington, Durban Primary School, and NBA Africa advanced. Addington took care of DPS in one semi-final, while Carrington squeaked past NBA Africa in the second to advance to the finals.
In the finals, Carrington looked to complete the City Wide sweep for the first time ever, but fell just short. In an epic girls match-up they pulled ahead early and did not relinquish the lead, holding off Berea to win 14-11.
On the boys side they weren’t so fortunate. Carrington vs Addington is a rivalry that traces back to the years before basketball was even invented, and one that has often been compared to Bulls-Jazz from the 90’s or Heat-Spurs over the last few years. The two schools are separated by a meagre 6 kilometres (3.7 miles), and have consistently been the best teams across the
PPI programme throughout 2014. It was only fitting they would face off for the championship. Addington controlled the first half, jumping out to a commanding lead of 10-2 going into the break. Carrington didn’t have an ounce of quit in them however, and eventually narrowed the lead to just 2 points, before falling 12-8.
As a special treat, the two championship teams were congratulated by coaches and players from the KwaZulu Marlins of he Basketball National League. It was a fitting end to a fantastic year for PeacePlayers International – South Africa. Check back over the next few weeks for news on the LDP portion of City Wide as well as reflections from coaches and volunteers.
PPI-SA would like to give special thanks to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and National Lottery for their support of the 24th City Wide Tournament, and continued support PPI-SA’s programmes. PPI-SA would also like to thank Coaching for Hope and SAPREF for their support of the Primary School and Professional Development Programme’s throughout 2014. It is with the help of these supporters, that PeacePlayers International South Africa is able to bridge divides, change perceptions and develop leaders.