On Friday, Oct. 24, the PlayMakers Foundation kicked the year off with a highly anticipated 7 versus 7 coed soccer tournament. After hosting several successful tournaments last year, the PlayMakers seemed determined to outdo themselves. Faced with cold weather and high winds, they turned up the music, handed out hot chocolate to keep the players warm and began the games.
The group stage started at 1:00 p.m. on Brock’s intramural fields behind the Zone 2 parking lots, where each team played three games in order to determine who would advance to the knockout stage. The top two teams from each group, plus two wildcard teams, advanced to the knockout stage. After a series of close games, “Twerk Team Ratchet” defeated “Sporting Lesbians” 1-0 in the final game of the tournament. For first place, “Twerk Team Ratchet” won Toronto Raptors tickets for their entire team. For second place, “Sporting Lesbians” won gift cards for SkyBar.
Adham Shama, President of the Brock PlayMakers, seemed pleased with the result of the tournament. “Everybody had a lot of fun,” said Shama. Many other people echoed this sentiment, and while it’s clear that the PlayMakers know how to have a good time, it’s important to note that they also have loftier goals. According to their mission statement, the PlayMakers Foundation is a non-profit organization that uses sport to promote global understanding, social integration, cultural diversity and tolerance. The PlayMakers talk about sport as a universal language and by generating athletic resources they hope to bring sport, play, health and joy to impoverished communities around the world.
This mission is quickly becoming a reality. Due to the hard work of the people that organized the tournament and the $10 registration fee contributed by each player that participated, the PlayMakers were able to raise well over $1,000. The majority of the money raised by the soccer tournament will be going to the John Nsame Foundation in order to help start a youth soccer league in Cameroon.
“We play so they can play,” said Shama. “It’s all about the spirit of the sport. We’re privileged in Canada, so we’re trying to give back to the kids in the world that are less fortunate.” It can be easy to forget that playing sports is a privilege that many children in impoverished parts of the world cannot afford. By utilizing a shared passion, the PlayMakers use sport to promote global awareness and the development of humanitarian and infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities, which ultimately works to bring people together, despite their socioeconomic differences.
The PlayMakers recent international project in Jordan is a perfect example of the importance of sport for development. This past summer, third-year Medical Sciences student Faisal Hejazi, visited an orphanage in Al Baqa, Jordan, on behalf of the PlayMakers Foundation. “We brought 40 different gift bags with sports equipment to the orphanage and educated them on the importance of athletics and sport,” said Hejazi.
The gift bags included soccer balls, jerseys, skipping ropes, badminton racquets, water bottles and baseball caps. In short, the PlayMakers were able to provide these children with an opportunity to play and enjoy sport – an opportunity they may not have had otherwise.
“The amount of people we can help locally and around the world is amazing,” said Kyle Bezaire, a second-year student who has played an active role in the PlayMakers since his first year. “We’re always looking for new players.” On the local front, the PlayMakers plan to host a series of tournaments at Brock throughout the year. Basketball is planned for Nov. 21, volleyball for Feb. 6, and dodgeball for Mar. 27.
If you are interested in getting involved, visit PlayMakers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @PlayMakersFDN or check out their website at playmakersfoundation.com