The idea started forming in my head as i was watching ZAK play against Mersch, this was the cadet 4th division preview of their division championship. the cadet age group is from 14-17, however ZAK was allowed to field a team of older players, they were after all, no ordinary athletes.
I first encountered ZAK last season when my cadet team was so awful we were relegated to the 4th division. I did not know what to expect,this was the first time i would encounter a team of mentally handicapped players, and boy was I blown away. during the game, one of their players was struggling to run up the court with his shoe laces untied. upon noticing this, one teammate dropped the ball went to him, knelt down and tied his shoe laces up. to my team’s credit, they didn’t go after the ball, but waited for the other player to pick up the ball again and resume play. i was floored, i was in tears, i was applauding them like crazy. that’s when i realized i was in love with them. that i had to do something for them.
opportunity did not present itself until earlier this month when i was able to watch them play again. although this time we were no longer in the same division, when their players saw me, they greeted me with a big smile and a handshake. and a baller bracelet i proudly never take off. i read up on ZAK, which was basically a non profit organization made up of volunteers whose sole purpose is to teach, train and support people with mental handicaps and integrate them into society through participation in sports. they don’t have much in terms of funds but to see their faces when they play,when they are able to high five an opponent, jump up and down on a made free throw, is the greatest thing i have ever seen.
I dropped by ZAK’s practice last monday to talk to them about something that’s been on my mind for weeks and met with Danielle, one of their officers.i told them of my plan, that maybe, in cooperation with them we could stage a fun run to benefit ZAK. we could invite all the basketball clubs, put up posters along jogging routes, take up ads in newspapers, go on the radio shows and drum up support and awareness for the wonderful things ZAK does.
“why would you do this for us?”
“because i want others to realize just how lucky they are, and that they have the opportunity to help and make a difference in others’ lives.”
So we made initial plans, it’s going to be a 5K-10K fun run, a 15 euro registration where every runner gets a ZAK running shirt, and a Baller bracelet at the finish line. along the run route, ZAK kids will be manning the water stations. and those who want to help but physically cannot run, can help man the water stations.
now all i need is to get this together. over the next couple of months, i will be closely coordinating with ZAK in trying to enlist sponsors, runners, assistance, the works. and i hope to god i get this done.
I’m counting on the filipino community, my wasserbillig basketball club, and the kind hearts of humanity to get this project done. i will definitely be writing more on this project over the next few days.
what’s in it for me? definitely nothing. what’s in it for everyone else? definitely another chance to do something worthwhile.