Tournament Time!

This blog was written by Cyrus Fellow Sean Wright about his first time experiencing the annual Spring 3 on 3 Tournament held at The English School of Kyrenia. 

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The kids awaiting eagerly to start playing ball!

 

This past weekend was a special one, as I got to experience for the first time our Spring 3 on 3 tournament. First, this tournament would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the generosity of our gracious hosts, The English School of Kyrenia. Their wonderful facilities and preparation helped make this event run very efficiently and productively.

Saturday started with all the teams associated with PPI – Cyprus, both Turkish Cypriots (TC) and Greek Cypriots (GC), arriving on buses to the school. Old friends greeted one another happy as can be to be spending their Saturday together playing basketball and sharing laughs all day long. This was the first event I’ve been at where all the teams throughout the island came and participated. So many kids showed up to participate, even one’s who were not officially involved with PeacePlayer’s.

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Great form. I wonder where he learned that?

Kids just wanted to come out and have fun playing basketball, which was so awesome to see. We divided the kids into 3 different groups, with an under 18’s group, under 14’s, and under 12’s completing the groups. Like we always do at PeacePlayer’s, we mixed the TC and GC kids together because at PPI our mission is to break down barriers and by having these kids on the same team, we are doing just that. Then it’s time for them to get to know each other, and by the end of the day they are running around playing with one another having a wonderful time. Before the teams start to play though, they need to come together and make up a name for their team. It’s funny how no matter what age group I saw, there were the same names everywhere. The girls loved the “Angels”, and the very literal team name “Girls”. For the boys, the “Warriors” and “Fireballs” were a big hit. My favorite team name though came from the boys in the under 14’s group, with the awesome name of the Miami Celtics. Now, I don’t know if they were trying to be funny or not, but I couldn’t stop laughing at this for the longest time! Taking two teams that hate each other, put them together to make one super team. I loved it. What I loved more though was that it showed that these kids from different backgrounds could come together and create a team name that they felt proud about. Coming up with this name was a simple task, but an important one because for kids who don’t know each other, it shows they can agree on something so they start to become friends. Then throughout the day they start to open up with each other and get to know each other better, while playing around and enjoying their time together.

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Free Throws win games!

 

On top of all the fun times being had by everyone, there was some pretty good basketball be playing as well! There were buzzer beaters, ankles broken, but most importantly, some awesome team play. Teams realized that if they worked together they had a better chance of winning rather than one person trying to do it by themselves. And no matter after a great or bad play, teammates were there encouraging one another with high fives and positive words. The game of the day happened to be the last game of the day, as the whole camp gathered around to watch the Boys Under 12’s championship game. Now if you thought a NBA Championship Game 7 was intense, you’ve never seen boys under 12 play for a medal. There were no easy buckets, every loose ball the kids were on the blacktop not caring if they get scraped up, and the look of determination in they boys eyes was amazing. A back and forth game had the Fireballs up 2-1 ( playing games by 1’s) with 10 second left and the ball. The other team caused a turnover and got the ball with 5 seconds left. The crowd was frantic. The sun was setting. Would we have overtime? They inbounded the ball, and all of the sudden there is a player wide open under the basket!

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Good Old Fashioned Shirts v. Skins

A great pass leaves him with a clear shot to force overtime, but out of nowhere comes Fireball’s MVP Ali (TC) flying through the air to swat the ball into the stands! Everyone went crazy! Such an exciting finish to an exciting day. The thing that I loved most was after the game, both teams came together and shook hands and congratulated each other on such a hard fought game. Yes, one team was sad and the other happy, but that didn’t stop them from realizing the importance of good sportsmanship and respect for each other. Was just a fitting way to end the day!

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Tough Bucket!

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the event!

Boys Under 12’s Champions : Fireballs

Boys Under 14’s Champions : Reverse Flash

Boys Under 18’s Champions : Fireballs

Girls Under 12’s Champions : Angels

Girls Under 14’s Champions : Girls Team

Girls Under 18’s Champions : Team Nike

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