Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pierre Johannessen and Big Bang Ballers: Basketball used to Empower Youth

The '30 Home Games' mission is my way of connecting with people around the World, using our collective passion for the game of Basketball. Sharing the Court opens conversation and leads to further invitations. It eases the tension when a language barrier exists. Canberran Pierre Johannessen also sees the power of Basketball and has used it to empower kids from all over the World. earning him the distinction of 2010 ACT Young Australian of the Year.
Throwing a basketball at big problems “We use basketball to fight youth poverty and social disadvantage, and that’s a big way of saying we basically just play basketball with kids,” he explains, sitting in his office at Isaacs shops, where he and his mother run a small law firm... ”He traces the simple idea back to late 2007, when he was shooting hoops in Bangladesh with a couple of French expats and a local guy. He was in the country working with Habitat for Humanity through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program. “You can do it with anything – you can do it with music, you can do it with arts – it just so happened that basketball was what we knew at the time,” he says.
It's incredible to see that the modest idea of "just playing basketball" coupled with visionary dedication can achieve so much. Hats off to Pierre for his work Empowering the Youth and his great ambassadorship of Basketball.

VIDEO: TEDxCanberra - Pierre Johannessen - 
International development, basketball and valuing youth

 Find more about Big Ballers and Pierre Johannessen below - Big Bang Ballers website - Pierre Johannessen's personal blog - Pierre Johannessen at TEDx Camberra

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing

"Heavy D"

Crashing the Boards
Barkley goes Coast to Coast
I got my first run of South America in Santiago, Chile at Parque Inés de Suárez. A Polish girl organised a Basketball event via Couchsurfing and 5 of us showed up for the inaugural meet. We played full court with some locals and we dominated them handily. At one point it was 8-0 with all the points posted by the 3 girls on the court.

Our Polish organiser had actually organised previous Basketball events in places like Buenos Aires and Chicago. The two other girls on our team were Australian, one had previously toured the States with her Year 11 Basketball team and had experience playing with American Competition in schools around California.

This is only the second time I've played organised hoops via Couchsurfing, interestingly it was also organised by an expat. If you're in Santiago and interested in playing some Ball you can find regular Couchsurfing meetings here - Basketball Couchsurfing Santiago

Update: December 2013
After being involved in the inaugural week of this CS meet its heartening to see its still going strong. Entering its 16th week at the time of this writing. Myself and the original Organiser are no longer a part of it as we've moved onto other Countries. P* the only Chileno who represented the first week has done an admirable job with the reins.
Full Court
The girls from the first week are still reppin it
Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogota, Colombia

Find other Basketball experiences facilitated by Couchsurfing:
- Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London via Couchsurfing
- Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing
- Baloncesto: I love this game - Basketball in Europe (PtI: España)
Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I

Monday, July 1, 2013

F*Yesta: 6 Months in South America

'Loz in Transit' goes to South America
My next Adventure will be a jaunt around South America with a projected return after 6 months. Dubbed the "F*Yesta" it will be a continuation of the YesMan spirit that carried me through the last few years in Australia and Europe. Whilst over there I'll be musing on my travels, finding Basketball experiences and recording podcasts.

- About 'Loz in Transit'
- My Basketball mission in Venezuela