This week’s blog is written by PPI-NI’s Managing Director, Gareth Harper.
That’s the word that comes immediately to mind when I reflect on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016. It was on this day that PPI-NI hosted its 10th Annual Jingle Ball Tournament, and yes it was the biggest and best to date, crammed full of ‘goose bump’ moments. After a decade, this event still remains a highlight in the PPI-NI calendar. It has also become an important landmark event for our many volunteers and supporters, including our friends from Google and from the Clare Youth Service.
Starting at 1pm, the basketball courts in the Queens PEC were transformed to a sea of red, green, yellow and blue as 149 Catholic and Protestant players from interface areas across Belfast came together to compete on 22 cross community teams. Chants of “EAST, EAST, EAST BELFAST and “WEST IS BEST” competed with top tunes blasted out by PPI-NI’s resident DJ, Sean “Topper” Thompson. Music, matches and mayhem pretty much sums up the scene.
It was teams from South, East, and West that emerged victorious on the day, picking up coveted spirit and hustle awards. But if smiles and flushed cheeks were the measure of success for the day, I’d say everyone was a winner. Jingle Ball was a truly fantastic seasonal conclusion to another brilliant year. We even threw in a mannequin challenge as an added bonus!
I feel privileged to be involved with such an amazing organisation. It is fantastic to work with such a talented and committed team of staff, volunteers and supporters. Watching past participants step up to take on coaching and leadership roles is simply awesome and was definitely my biggest ‘goose bump’ moment. I can’t wait until next year.