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Basketball Tournament

By Capt. Luis Barber
First published in
SFOR Informer #101, November 22, 2000

Sarajevo - A basketball tournament held in Camp Butmir recently put together five teams of four nations.
According the co-ordinator of this event, American 1Sgt. Didacio Gaitan, "The aim of the league was to bring soldiers together to have some fun activity after duty hours. This allowed the soldiers to break away two days every week to enjoy a good competitive evening of sport integrated activity."
He got the idea of organizing this tournament because basketball is a very popular sport in Europe. In conjunction with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) co-ordinator, he discovered that four nations were interested on the idea.
"To my surprise, we had five representatives show up and sign up for the league," he said.
Matches took place every Wednesday and Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Teams, comprised of 12 players each, came from the Battle Groups of Turkey, placed in Zenica, Italy, placed in Sarajevo, and Greece, placed in Visoko, and two teams from the U.S. personnel in Butmir.
Gaitan is not only an experienced basketball player, but also a referee. When he was younger, he played basketball and coached unit level basketball in the United States for several years. He became a referee 10 years ago and has refereed basketball in Germany for eight years and two years in America.
"I have refereed Military Unit Level basketball, Community Level basketball and youth league basketball," explained Gaitan.
Because of that, Gaitan was in charge of refereeing every game.
Every team won at least two games, and team number two of the United States was declared the winner after an exciting final with Greece.
At the end of the competition, the trophies were distributed to the participants. Gaitan was very pleased with everyone's contribution to the league.
"All teams were very competitive, each player contributed to the success of his team as much as he could. We had good sportsmanship and most of all everyone had fun," he said.
Gaitan will start to organize another league after the holidays.

Related links: Miscellaneous
Nations of SFOR: US, Greece