As the planning and scheming for another year of Ultimate Peace in the Middle East gets under way, the kids are getting a little down time. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be posting “Moments” from both of the summer camps: Moments observed by coaches, campers, and staff that provide little glimpses into how Ultimate Peace is actually WORKING in the Middle East. They may seem small to the uninitiated, but, as our camp photographer put it, “The big deal is that it’s no big deal.” Kids from different cultures in this complicated region are just… getting along, getting to know each other, forming impressions and sometimes even relationships. No big deal.
Our first comes from Sam Chatterton-Kirchmeier, a training camp coach who plays for Chain Lightning in Atlanta, GA.
I was on the Habibi Blue team, and we (Sam Kanner, Dan Tapuach, Nadav Pearl and myself) decided we would teach zone to our team. They were ballers, were pretty advanced, had good skills, and they had quickly picked up on everything else we had taught them thus far, so we figured we would keep challenging them with new/difficult concepts.
After doing a chalk talk, we were out on the field having the campers play the cup and wing defensive positions and the four coaches playing handler and popper offensive positions. At a brief stoppage during the drill, Sam K. and I looked over to check in on the kids who were not currently on the field as part of the drill (more than half the team), to see them all intently huddled up over a spot on the ground drawing out zone positions and explaining to each other the concepts of the zone positions for the players who were less familiar with the positions or who hadn’t completely grasped it yet. It was, of course, a mix of Arabic and Hebrew speaking kids from different communities. Sam and I both did a double take, then recognized how awesome it was that our players were comfortable taking on teaching and learning roles within the group. Our brief conversation went something like this after seeing the huddle of players:
Sam C-K: Woah?!
Sam K: Yeah!
Sam C-K: Sweet!
Then we went back to the drill and once again, they did a great job of picking up on the concept that we challenged them with. We never played zone in a game against another team, but it was nonetheless really cool to see them commit to and grasp a team defense as a TEAM.