Written by Valts Rozentāls
We took the learnings gained in yesterday’s games and tailored our morning practice around deficiencies we were seeing on the field. Defensive basics – footwork, proper individual positioning and 1on1 defense. We had to get more ball stops and deny easy drives to the basket. This went well, although we noticed that some variance in skill between the groups were hindering us to move on with the practice at the desired tempo. We finished on point as we still had to get the nutritious breakfast in and take part in two hours of a traditional Szekler dance lesson.
This year the instructor was a different one, it was a teacher from the school we would visit later today. As the originally planned person cancelled the evening before, it was nice of him to jump in and teach us the basic steps of this traditional dance. One could at once notice he was in the business to educate people. Very clear spoken and even used French to break some of the language barriers we had. Otherwise, it would be translated for us. He got us up to speed very fast, by splitting the whole dance in smaller parts for girls and boys and then bringing it together at the end. Not only that, as he did not have a music box with him, he was singing all the time! Spectacular demonstration of skill – singing loud in rhythm and dancing at the same time.
Free time in-between the events was used by youth to play some pickup games on the court outside or play some board/card games together with Bögöz kids. It’s always interesting to see how they communicate with each other and how mutual interest in playing games bring people together.
For this evening we have planned to visit nearby village Galambfalva (the commune center Nagygalambfalva, previously one commune with Bögöz until break off in 2004) and present the game of Basketball to them and the work we are doing through it. Recently they had renovated a small gym at that school and are planning to build a proper sports gym with basketball court. They also have an outdoor basketball court in the school’s backyard. This could be an opportunity to grow the basketball community around the Bögöz and strengthen our roots. We had a meeting with the school principal, local coaches and everybody that was interested and showed up. We played some exhibition games to show how exciting our game is and to portray our love for it. Afterwards we presented ourselves and the project to the parents and everybody present. The principal of the school showed us the school – it is small, grades one to eight. Afterwards some more freestyle activities for youth and conversations for adults.
Two of our girls left earlier as they got an invitation to visit the home of one of the Bögöz girls they had made friends with. They would meet us later at the train station as they decided to stay together with the group and not spend the night. It was nice to see the friendships develop in the group and the mutual trust they put in each other.
For some reason the train schedule was not quite right. We did our best to arrive at the station on time, or at least what we thought was on time. We ended up waiting more than an hour for the train to take us home. Thankfully Irenke kept food warm until we arrived.