The Huddle is the community arm of the North Melbourne Football Club and benefits many local young people in the community, particularly those from a multicultural and migrant background. The recent launch of the Helping Hoops North Melbourne program has been supported by The Huddle, and we are excited to expand the partnership in 2014, both at the North Melbourne Football Club and the North Melbourne Community Centre, where Helping Hoops runs its weekly program.
The Huddle’s drop-in basketball program, which runs every Friday evening, hosted its end-of-year tournament on December 6, 2013 as a reward for the 20-plus young men which attend the program every week. Helping Hoops was delighted to head down and help host the tournament, alongside Somali National Team captain, Yusuf Qaafow, and Jon Sheppard from Pumped Up Kicks. Helping Hoops coach, Mike Spears, refereed games and provided a running commentary that kept everyone entertained.
The tournament was a casual affair, with Yusuf and Jon joining Helping Hoops Executive Director, Adam McKay, and Huddle worker, Yahye Fitaax, in captaining the four teams. The final saw Yahye’s team run out winners over Yusuf and his troops, but no one seemed too concerned with winning and losing. More importantly, the friendship and sportsmanship The Huddle and Helping Hoops strive to instil in young people was on show.
When speaking to the group at the end of the event, Yusuf Qaafow made special mention of the number of cultures represented at the tournament and how basketball provides a fantastic way to bring all together.
Helping Hoops and The Huddle already have plans for more joint events in 2014, with a school-holiday tournament in the works for mid-January.