First Time Champions!

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So the league games have come to a close which brought us to playoff time!!! The teams in the finals were: Rukara and Rwinkwavu Primary. Nyamirama Boys and Girls along with Gahini Boys and Girls. I am very proud of all the teams that made it to the playoffs, but particularly Gahini. It was their first year in the league and they made it to the championship game. Kudos! So I decided to throw something new out there and teach the Gahini boys a 1-2-1-1 press defense. I thought at first it may be too much for them to learn and grasp in one day, but they all went out there and executed it perfectly. It caused so many turnovers for their opponents. It made me proud as a coach to see things play out exactly as you expect it to. With that said, I won’t keep you waiting… the results of the playoffs are as follows:

Girls:
Nyamirama vs. Gahini     Champion: Gahini Girls

Secondary Boys:
Nyamirama vs. Gahini     Champion: Gahini Boys

Primary Boys:
Rwinkwavu vs. Rukara        Campion: Rukara Primary

Yes, I have to brag… All of my teams won! It was so great to see their excitement and how happy they were to hoist the trophy! I don’t think I have ever seen them so happy. Especially for the Rukara Primary team. Rukara always seems to have a team in the championship in any tournament we have had, but they never came out on top. But to finally their hard work and perseverance truly pay off was amazing. I am very proud of all of the players and congratulations to all of the winners from each court!
I volunteered to present at GLOW Camp for girls for my friend Hannah, with Peace Corps. I did three, 75 minute presentations on health and fitness. It was interactive so that the kids were constantly up and involved. They had a great time, as did I. Kayonza Coach Christian Nijyimbere joined me to translate. The girls really liked him. And I appreciated his help with the translation. It made it much easier for everyone involved. All in all, I have to say the day was a huge success.

Continuing my ‘Meet the Coach’ segment of my blog, I interviewed two additional coaches here in Rwanda. I hope you enjoying getting to know them as much as I enjoyed interviewing them.

Rukara Coaches
Up Close and Personal – Venant & Moses.

What is your full name?
NV: I Am Niyigena Venant
KM: I am Karwaniara Moses

How old are you?
NV: I Am 24 years old.
KM: I am 24 years old.

Do you have any siblings?
NV: I have four brothers and two sisters.
KM: I have two sisters and three brothers.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not coaching for Shooting Touch?
NV: I read books or I play basketball.
KM: I visit some of my players and my friends.

Do you play any other sport besides basketball?
NV: None, only Basketball.
KM: No. Just basketball.

What are your personal goals?
NV: I want to be a Professional Coach.
KM: I want to be strong and a professional coach in basketball.

How do you feel being a part of ST and what does it mean to you?
NV: I am proud of being a part of Shooting Touch and it means that its vision meets with my vision, especially in coaching career.
KM: I am proud for being part of ST and what it means for me is that it is the one way that can help me to reach my personal goals.

What is your most memorable moment with ST?
NV: When I first met with Shooting Touch members.
KM: It’s the moment when I first joined ST and when our primary boys won the Championship.

How can ST improve here in Rwanda?
NV: Give training to many coaches and use media.
KM: Maybe there can be preparation of a Men’s competition so as to employ the players and more clinics.

Do you have any other comments that you would like to share/tell the ST family and people in America?
NV: Shooting Touch may improve the knowledge of coaching to women.
KM: ST may increase the number of women coaches.
As things are winding down for me and we prepare for the end of this amazing journey, I think back on all the memories I have made, the people I have met, the lives that I have changed. It’s great to know that I have made a difference in these individuals’ lives. For me personally though, one of the most memorable moments that I will take away from being here in Africa is when one of the players from another court came up to me and asked me if the next female fellow that comes out could coach his court because he sees how strong and tough I made my players. He sees that I have truly made a difference. What more could I ask for? I am confident my job has been done.
The next time I blog will be from Angola as Matt and I join Basketball Without Borders. And I just found out past fellow Isa will be apart of BWB too, so it will be great to finally meet her. 🙂 Even though it’s only a week in Angola, I am positive it will be an experience we won’t soon forget. Til then…

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