This week’s blog is an interview with two members of the leadership development program conducted by Monique Lewis, PP- ME’s American fellow.
It’s great to work with an organization where everyone enjoys basketball and believes in the big mission of PeacePlayers! In the past two months I have been getting to know the PP-ME team by accepting invitations to a few of the players’ homes, meeting families, and spending time laughing and eating traditional food. I coordinate programs at Jewish and Arab schools, where kids participate in intense physical activity, social development, and learn the fundamentals of conflict resolution. I also help out the more skilled athletes in the Under 18 and Under 14 Girls teams as they compete in the League. They remind me of when I was a teenager and had to coordinate a demanding basketball schedule, an academic load, a complex social life, and extracurricular activities.
I interviewed Tamar and Sireen, two league players and members of the LDP, to learn more about their lives on and off the court:
Why did you decide to play basketball?
TAMAR: When I was in the 3rd grade, representatives of Athena – the Israeli project to advance women’s sports – came to our school. I enjoyed their basketball activities, joined the team, and have been playing ever since.
SIREEN: At first I didn’t care about basketball, I just wanted to play for fun. But I learned how to play from the coaches in PeacePlayers and have been playing for seven years now.
What do you enjoy most about PeacePlayers? What is your favorite memory with your team?
TAMAR: I enjoy the LDP program because it teaches how to be a basketball coach and how to be a leader. My favorite memory with my team is our first retreat.
SIREEN: The thing I enjoy most is when I see my best friends and when I play basketball with them. My favorite memory is when we travelled together to the USA.
What are some of your short and long-term goals?
TAMAR: To succeed with the All-Star team, to be a good coach and a good basketball player.
SIREEN: I want to be a role model for the young kids, a good leader and a good coach.
Do you think sports prepares you for life?
TAMAR: Sport is an excellent preparation for life because it teaches you responsibility and diligence.
SIREEN: I can’t imagine my life without sport, which gives me a lot of positive energy.
Do you participate in other sports or activities besides basketball?
TAMAR: I am a member of a volleyball team and I go to a youth movement called Sayarut.
SIREEN: I participate In Kids4Peace, which also brings Arab and Jewish kids together.
Have you lived in Israel all your life? Where have you traveled to?
TAMAR: I was born in Israel and have lived here my whole life. I travel with my family in Israel and abroad a lot.
SIREEN: I have lived my whole life in Israel. I don’t travel with my family that much but I traveled with PP to Norway, Northern Ireland, and the USA.
What is your favorite food?
SIREEN: Fries and maqluba (a traditional Arab dish with meat, rice and vegetables)
If you were any animal what animal would you be? Why?
TAMAR: I don’t know, but I would like to be an animal that is active!
SIREEN: I would like to be lion so no one can hurt me and I will be strong enough.
What is your favorite color?
TAMAR: My favorite color is red because it is a powerful color.
Who is your favorite athlete?
TAMAR: My favorite athletes are from the NBA: Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan because they achieved so many goals in their careers.
SIREEN: Michael Phelps