Happy Birthday to ... ONE TEAM!!! (vid+pics)
We got to celebrate 10 years of One Team, with a Christmas atmosphere and a special friendly game!!!
On Monday morning (19/12) the co-ed teams comprised by the starts of the men's team together with ONE Team athletes, faced off in the central court of the Peace and Friendship Stadium aiming not to the win, but rather to having fun, enjoying themselves and getting as many smiles as possible! And guess what... They were all winners!!! Our head coach, Giorgos Bartzokas, was the acting game referee, who despite some slight protesting from both sides, did a top level job!!!
The special event organized by Olympiacos BC that included many surprises (some Christmas ones too), as well as the cutting of the birthday cake, was attended not only by those directly involved with this season's Euroleague social responsibility program, but also athletes, professors and volunteers that had been contributors in previous years.
You will be able to watch footage from this special match up in future segments on our YouTube Channel, OlympiacosBC TV!
"This has been a much more pleasant experience than what I would have imagined", the 'red & whites' coach, Giorgos Bartzokas stated. "I had an idea about what was going on, I knew about the actions our team has undertaken, with Kostas Papanikolaou and Sasha Vezenkov. I kinow how much they have worked with these kids for years now. So, I have had an idea, but I could not have imagined the amount of joy this event would be giving us! They kids enjoyed themselves too, but they also gained strength. I feel very happy to have participated even if with a small part".
On his part, the captain of Olympiacos and ambassador of our team with ONE Team, Kostas Papanikolaou, stressed: " You learn about the meaning of unselfishness, of true love, about what a sincere hug means. Smiles that don't need any reciprocation to be offered, they only thing they need is for you to be there to play and share in their joy. It's a blessing and there are no words enough to describe it. Only someone who has experienced it and has had the opportunity to keep company with these kids can understand. I would suggest that everyone does something like that, 200%! The emotions you get to experience and the joy you derive are greater than the joy you give back to these kids".
The other 'red & white' ambassador, Sasha Vezenkov, pointed out the following: "It's my fifth year with the program, Kostas has been active with it even before that. Each time we are with them, we really enjoy it, we see their smiles. For us, this is the most important part, to watch these kids being happy, share activities, offer them even the slightest joy whenever we are able to meet. I'm very happy that today we got to see old and new friends and we all together got to play, laugh and escape every day routine, both ours and theirs".
Thomas Walkup was also thrilled by this unique experience. "These kids teach us 100% more things than what we get to teach them. It's 5 or 6 months before the end of the season and sometimes it's only necessary to check in with real life. You come to the gym every day and it's hard, because your body hurts, your spirit is suffering, you feel tired, you miss a few games and feel sad for yourself. And then you come here, you play a game like this one and you realize a lot. You realize that you need to be grateful for what you've got. You see how these kids look at you, that they see you as a role model and you see that they would give everything to play a basketball game. To tell you the truth, this is the easiest thing we can do for these kids. However, it has been a special day and I'm happy we did that".
The Director of the Special Elementary School for the Deaf of Argyroupolis, Ms. Pelagia Tsagkaridou, said: "We are really thankful for the Olympiacos BC team that has given our students this unique opportunity. We got to experience that wonderful program again after ten years! All the kids were very happy indeed, just like we were, the educators. We wish to sincerely thank them".
Finally, Vangelis Vasileiou, deputy director of the Special School of St. Demetrius, stressed the following: "Our schools have participated in the ONE Team action with Olympiacos a few years ago. Our students had been practicing with the Olympiacos' players. They realized they could achieve their goals, that they could collaborate and express their wishes. Seeing the students after a few years in the frame work of this reunion, we come to realize how deeply this experience has been forged into their memories and how much they were longing to re-live it and get in touch with the Olympiacos' players once again. We witnessed how they got to work together on the court, remembering their past collaboration. We were all very happy to be back at the Peace and Friendship Stadium after so much time. We hope that Olympiacos BC continues with these significant initiatives.
We wish to thank for their presence and continuous collaboration...
The Special Kindergarten and Elementary Scholl for the Deaf and the Hearing Impaired of Argyroupolis.
The Special Skills and Traits Workshop of St. Demetrius.
The Special Skills and Traits Workshop of Piraeus.
The Centre of Special Training for Children with Special Needs "Horizon", with whom we won 2nd place in the annual One Team awards participated by all Euroleague teams.
The Evolution of Life foundation (initial founder and donor the Stavros Niarchos foundation).
The Special Skills and Traits Workshop "Spring" of Piraeus.
The Special School of Perama
The Special Elementary School of St. Demetrius.
LOOK AT PHOTOS HERE