Side note: Before I start my blog entry about a full day of activities, I would like to note that there was a local that absolutely dominated JJ in a 3v3 game yesterday. He only spoke Italian, but still managed to say “In your face” in English to JJ after knocking down one of his many three-pointers right over JJ.
On a more serious note, today was our first full day of mission work, and we stayed on the grind all day. Our day started at 8:00a at a local school, where we spent six hours with around 150 children, in one hour sessions. Each session contained dribble relay races, dancing, shooting contest, 5v5 full-court games, and a short testimonial from one of our team members. Mick, Cacy, Brandon, Adam, Haley, and I all spoke to the kids about making good life choices and having a personal relationship with Jesus.
After a quick lunch, which only consisted of nine pieces of bread for me because the “stew” did not quite meet my picky standards, we headed back to the school for two more sessions. After two more successful sessions, we headed to two parks for more basketball. (Another side note: Debbie came through in the clutch, like she always does, and helped me get a few tasty snacks before heading to the parks.)
We started at a court in the middle of a roundabout and played 5v5 games to 52 points, with every basket counting as two points (Coach Byrd, we tried explaining that three-point shots should be worth three points, and that two-point shots should be worth two, because a 3:2 ratio is more game-like than a 2:2 ratio, but they couldn’t understand our English. They also had no idea about bringing the ball to “The Spot” ☺). After a few successful games, we moved to a local park to play with some of the local kids. That is where I met Lorenzo, the dribbling machine.
Lorenzo is a ten-year-old boy that absolutely LOVED (Pure Sweat) ball-handling drills. We spent about an hour practicing all kinds of ball-handling drills, including: figure eight drills, two-ball dribbling drills, spinning the ball on your finger drills, and everything in-between. After an hour, his mother approached me and asked if I could babysit for 15 minutes while she ran a few errands. We spent some more time working on some fancy ball handling drills before his mother came back to get him. At the conclusion of the “workout” he asked his mother if he could come to America with us. I’m sure T.J. “All Day” Saint will be recruiting him after reading this blog, so hopefully Lorenzo will be playing college ball in America one day so you guys can meet him too.
I am so so excited that we have another full week here to work within the community (“So so” was not a typo, just a new term that Cacy has created). The locals are really beginning to open up to us, and I think that we will be able to make a huge difference in their drug-filled community.
Thanks to everyone that contributed and helped make this trip possible. I travel all over the country running basketball clinics for my job, but this is always my favorite trip, because I leave changed for the better every time I go.
Until next time, ciao,