For the last one hundred years, The Philippines has had an unlikely love affair with basketball. Despite being a country with an average male height of only 5’4″, the country is absolutely obsessed with this tall mans sport.
For all of his here at VFV, grown men and children shooting hoops on the basketball court at the front of our community center has become an all too common sight with the occasional international volunteer often being beckoned to join in and enter the fray. The court, which was resurfaced and renovated in 2005 as one of VFV’s community projects has for the last six years been offering a simple, yet highly appreciated sports facility for the local community.
In 2011, VFV has decided to focus on the Filipino obsession with basketball by organizing regular basketball coaching sessions throughout the month of June with children enrolled on our Child Sponsorship Program and our Dumpsite Project. The aim of the coaching is to not only enhance the children’s grasp of the sport, but to also enforce the importance of good sportsmanship and discipline. The coaching is led by 19 year old German volunteer Toni Kiel who has chosen to dedicate his time and energy to participate in VFV’s Coach Basketball with Disadvantaged Children in the Philippines project. His objective: to teach fundamental basketball skills, to improve health and fitness, to keep children constructively occupied, and most importantly to foster teamwork, discipline, and self-worth.
Thanks to some kind-hearted donations from an anonymous benefactor, VFV has also been provided with a box of sports shoes to distribute to some of the children as prizes. Whilst many of our kids would quite happily play basketball in flip-flops or even barefoot, the opportunity to own and play basketball in a pair of sports shoes is often a dream for children coming from low income and disadvantaged families.
Whilst many of our children may never feel the freshly polished surface of an NBA Court, at least they will benefit from someone taking the time to show them how to master the sport they truly love. Sport not only acts as a way to stay healthy, but also offers the opportunities to bring people together, develop friendships and promote a healthy lifestyle choice. Hopefully this coaching will be a real slam dunk for the local community.For more information on the Philippines and it’s connection with Basketball, VFV recommends Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew, available in all good book stores.