Both ASL gyms were packed with athletes from 12 different schools from the Westminster borough on November 28. The London Basketball Association (LBA) was hosting their fourth U14 Westminster mid-season tournament. The tournament was a way for ASL to join with the Westminster community through a sport that they love.
The LBA is a registered charity that was formed in July of 2012 by Mr. Tony Lazare. According to their website, their aim is to bring “positive social change in areas such as health and wellbeing, substance misuse and employment, through the powerful medium of sport, and basketball specifically.”
Athletic Director Mr John Farmer said that the tournament is like “being apart of something that is bigger than us.”
Mr. Farmer got in touch with Mr. Lazare when he heard that they wanted to do a tournament. Mr. Farmer volunteered ASL to hold the tournaments as he felt that “It is a way for us to join the community,” and that it brings a diverse community to our school.
In addition, Middle School Athletic Director Mr. Akay Mustafa thought that, “there is much work to be done before we can say that it brings schools together,” and that “we need to keep exploring ways in which we can use this event to make a more meaningful connection with our local community.”
Mr. Mustafa does, however, think that the tournament, “gives us an opportunity to meet our neighbors and to begin to form relationships with new people.”
This year was the first year that the boys and the girls teams played together. Mr Lazare said that he likes this system much more as the system before was all boys on one day and all girls on another day. He said that he had multiple people come up to him and tell him that they liked this system more.
“For me, a tear comes to the eye because we’re pioneering the way which we are trying to tell females that this is your home, you should be playing here with the boys,” said Mr. Lazare.
He also said that the boys, “need to respect and appreciate and understand that this is a female’s place as well and encourage them. To see it happen for the first time, after talking about it for three years, (…) is amazing.”
The winner of the U14 girls tournament was ASL’s eighth grade girls team. The winner of the U14 boys tournament was ASL’s eighth grade boys team. Both of these teams will be advancing to the London Youth Games or the ‘Battle of Boroughs.’ They will be representing Westminster and will be playing against other boroughs in London.
The eighth-graders are all very excited to move onto the the London Youth Games as it is a way for them to form new relationships with different boroughs in London.