It was an honor to be apart of the first annual and hugely successful Belfast Classic. So many things factored into this successful weekend, and since I’m more of a “numbers, math guy” I’ll sum this event up with an equation. One weekend+ 4 US teams+ 9,000 fans+ 77 million shares on facebook about the classic (*inserts laughing emoji)+ 1 SSE arena+ 1 radio interview + 1 CBS interview+ 1 fan zone+ 1 buzzer beater + 1 championship+ a flurry of autographs+ the tears of happiness and pain after removing the floor= THE BELFAST CLASSIC. I can go into detailed analytics and break down every single enjoyable part of the process and weekend. However, I’ll just explain how it made me feel.
I cannot put the words together, to say how much of an impact this tournament has had on the community. My favorite part of the entire weekend was seeing how happy the children were. Here in Ireland and Northern Ireland, basketball isn’t prevalent. Basketball may be a child’s third or fourth sports choice out here, so bringing high level televised basketball is a wee bit of big deal. Being around the children were terrific, from choosing them to participate on the court during timeouts and halftime to seeing the priceless looks/ecstatic celebrations when Towson University won on a buzzer beater. Kids just love having a good time! They have no care in the world; they’re just living life without worries.
The primary focus this weekend was to keep the children happy, and two moments solidified that for me. The first defining moment was dressing up with Faith into sumo costumes (along with Mackenzie, arguably top 5 mascots of all time lol) and being the tv timeout entertainment. Everyone loved it, especially the kids; just hopefully whoever recorded us does not post it on social media because we’re DEFINITELY going viral! The final moment was choosing a kid to do the little big challenge during a tv timeout (participants race down the court to make a layup while putting on size 19 sneakers, huge shorts, and a jersey). I was in charge of the entertainment as mentioned before; I had to find people willing to do specific challenges during tv timeouts and halftime. In the midst of doing all of this, I had an all-access pass which allowed me to go anywhere in the arena. So this kid I picked, was sitting rather high up, when I took him through the stadium courtside, you should have seen his reaction. His eyes lit up, he looked at me and said: “Wow this is unreal, thank you so much.” Even though he didn’t win the challenge, he had enough courage to participate. He was so thankful and appreciative; it genuinely made me feel amazing. You honestly never know what somebody is going through, so the little things matter. The little things can have a much bigger impact than you think. Hopefully, I made a small impact, just by making that kid’s day!
I could honestly keep on going, but then this will turn from a blog into a New York Times bestseller. It’s safe to say; I’ll stop writing now, but, I just really want to thank Sport Changes Life and Rory Foundation for giving me this opportunity. Thanks for giving me the chance to have an impact on the youth and community, it’s truly an honor and blessing!
– Chazito Out *drops mic