Today’s blog post is written by PPI-NI fellow Sally Nnamani.
This Sunday, 24th January, PeacePlayers International-Northern Ireland will host the first under 12 Basketball Northern Ireland Blitz Tournament of 2016, and the fourth of the 2015-2016 season.
In a change from past years, U12 season matches now take place in a monthly blitz tournament, as opposed to weekly individual matches. This change, agreed on by local clubs and Basketball Northern Ireland, has proven to be a welcome change for all. Each month a different club plays host to the other clubs. This month, with PPI-NI as the host, it’s sure to be a great day for all involved. The first few hours of the blitz will consist of round robin style play where teams will get a chance to play one another. Once those matches are complete, teams will be seeded for the competitive matches in the second half of the afternoon.
In total, eight boys teams and seven girls teams from across Northern Ireland will come to Methodist College for a chance to win the January blitz. Winning at this blitz means a lot more than just beating the other teams. While there will be a winning team at the end of the day, there will also be a sportsmanship award given out to one player from each team. Throughout the day, coaches will have a chance to select a player who has demonstrated teamwork, hustle, love for the game, and respect for opposition, teammates, and referees. While the sport of basketball is growing in Northern Ireland, it is still considered a minor sport. Through engaging young children in this blitz type atmosphere and by rewarding not only wins but also sportsmanship, local clubs hope to retain and increase player numbers.
The monthly blitzes have created a sense of excitement for many young players around the league. It’s helped bring teams together, and has also helped create friendships among players on different teams who have the chance to compete with and against each other every month. For PPI-NI this also provides opportunities not just to our U12 players, but also for participants in our Champions4Peace Leadership Development Program. C4Ps will be participating during the day by running a snack bar, keeping score, and even helping assist in the coaching. I’m sure we will also see plenty of friendly faces there to cheer on our girls and boys teams as well.
No matter the results on Sunday, all teams and Basketball Northern Ireland should be proud of their efforts to better the game of basketball across the region. PeacePlayers is excited to be a part of this effort and is looking forward to lots of fun and great basketball on Sunday.