|Jen, with her game face on|
|Jen presenting a basketball to the winning team|
The other day when Jen first told us all of the girls would be playing basketball at the refugee camp I was extremely excited. The idea was to help get the girls active and to show them that sports are not only for boys. Having 10 years of basketball under my belt I figured I would be able to show the girls in the refugee camp a thing or two. Well I was very wrong about that.
The teams were 5 girls from our group against 5 girls who lived in the refugee camp. We got completely demolished, the final score was about 2-30 (with our 1 basket being scored by yours truly). Trust me we are not that bad (well a couple of us aren’t). It didn’t help that the only girl from our group who actually plays on a basketball team was unable to play in the game due to a recent injury. Playing basketball in a long skirt and sandals was definitely a new experience and it is not easy. For the record, it is also not possible to dribble a basketball between your legs when you are wearing a long skirt. Unfortunately, I did not realize this and ended up embarrassing myself in front of everyone. I think the moment that we realized we were about to get whopped was when we decided it would be a good idea to have me, the second shortest player on our team, do the jump ball.
All of our disadvantages and lack of skill aside, I have to give lots of credit to these girls. They were SO good at basketball and made us look silly. Looking back on the game it makes sense why they are so good. Being stuck in the refugee camp, these girls probably spend a lot of their time playing basketball. There are not many job opportunities and teenagers cannot go to school after grade 9 unless they have enough money to pay school fees, which is expensive and out of reach for many families. I’m glad to see that these girls have the opportunity to play basketball in the camp because many kids their age who live in refugee camps turn to drugs, prostituition, and alcohol abuse to fill their time.
One of the coolest things about the game was the fact that our 2 teams did not speak the same language, but we were still able to have fun and bond together through a game of basketball. This game helped me realize you do not have to use words in order to connect with someone. Everyone had lots of fun just being on the court and playing against the girls from the camp even if we were not very good.
My favorite part of the basketball game actually took place off the court when the game was over. As the captain of our team I had the privilege to be able to stand up in front of everyone one and present the game ball to the captain of the refugee team. It was such an amazing experience to be able to pass the ball over from our team to their’s because basketball was clearly something that was very meaningful and enjoyable to both of us. I’m excited because I know that the basketballs that we left for them will all go to good use. It was so much more meaningful to be able to actually play basketball with these girls instead of just giving them a bunch of basketballs. I hope those girls are ready because I will be back for a rematch!