This weeks blog features an interview with Nicos Mashias. An active member of PPI-CY for the last four years, Nicos has volunteered at numerous events like Twinnings, LDP Retreats and Summer Camps and just recently became an official coach of our boys team in Aglantzia.
Q: What most excites you about coaching PeacePlayers this season?
A :I’ve been a part of the organization for almost 4 years now, but never had my own team throughout the year. I believe in the values PPI is promoting; bridging divides, developing leaders, changing perceptions, and I’m very excited to be able to pass those values and beliefs on to our young participants.
Q: Who are some of the people who’ve influenced you in basketball (coaches, players, etc.)?
A: I was very close to my father from a young age. He exposed me to all kinds of sports, while also emphasizing the importance of performing well at school. I somehow fell in love with basketball!
The person who influenced me the most was my first coach, former Bulgarian national team player Sasha Venekov. He was my coach from the ages of 12 to 16 and then we became teammates on the men’s team. He taught me almost everything I know about basketball, including work ethic, taking responsibility for my actions on the court and the importance of playing team-style basketball to win games. From a young age, I began to admire basketball players that were leaders on and off the court; the ones whose actions speak louder than their words.
Q: What does being a PPI-CY member mean to you?
A: Being an active member of PPI-CY means a lot to me. Since I joined 4 years ago as a volunteer, I’ve managed to build long lasting friendships with other coaches and PPI-Cyprus staff. I have also been able to interact with many kids that share my passion for basketball and doing the right thing no matter what. I must admit, a lot of our young leaders are actually teaching me, through their actions, what true leadership is. They remind me the positive effects sports have on both a child’s development and their community’s development. They inspire me to continue contributing to this organization. If children can play together and overcome differences, then their parents and neighbors can eventually do the same. It’s all about human interaction.
Q: If you could be a part of any professional team (Coach or Player) which team would you join?
A:That’s a tough one. I really admire the NBA team – San Antonio Spurs. I know my friends in Phoenix, AZ will not like this, since they’re a rival of the Phoenix Suns. However, I strongly believe that any organization, not just in sports, should have the vision to be successful for many years, not just for the next 3-5 years. In order to accomplish that, all members of the team should be selected carefully, not just on individual talent, but on their ability to perform together as a team. The Spurs, under the leadership of Coach Greg Popovic, have been able to perform well every year for the past 20 years.