Veishea reaches out to international students in basketball tournament

Isaac Hunt

Every student on campus is aware of international students but may not have had much contact with them. 

What better way to integrate students of different nationalities than through sports?

With Jackie Robinson Day in baseball this past weekend, the barriers he crossed and how sports allowed for integration even through times of difficulty were recognized.

One Veishea tournament Wednesday night was the World 3-on-3 basketball competition, which was aimed to get the attention of international students to come enjoy the event.

“We just wanted to encourage more international students to participate in our tournaments,” said tournament co-chairman Jake Smith. “We think Veishea is a good celebration for all of campus and the whole community.”

Students who attended the event are also backing the idea of adding more people to the mix. 

“It’s fun to have all kinds of people to come and play,” said Matt Winkleblack, freshman in management and marketing. “I don’t know if there was that big of a turnout in all honesty, but it’s still a good idea.”

Turnout or not, the action taken by the student-run tournament committee was appreciated. Sports is a venue that has proven itself time and again to be accepting of different people.

“I think it’s pretty good,” said international student Nate Xiaolong. “[You] can meet a lot of new people. It’s a good opportunity to [socialize].”

The choice of basketball as the sport to reach out was simple. 

“I think a lot of people like to play basketball,” Smith said. “3-on-3 is a little less intense than [regular full court basketball]. When you play 3-on-3 it feels a more fun.”

Less intense may be the case, but the students still fought to win the competition. 

“It’s still very competitive,” Winkleblack said. “It’s a lot different, especially when you’re playing half court. The people I usually play with play full court so you can do a lot of fast break stuff. The fact that you always have to go back and clear the ball is a lot different, but it’s still competitive.”

Win or lose the sportsmanship and drive were shared equally among the teams who competed. Sweat dropped and shots went towards the basket during the games as students played to win the title. 

Smith attributed the night’s success to the people who helped him throughout the night. 

“One thing that we could do better is to set up earlier,” Smith said. “But we have dedicated workers here. When you have enough people setting things up it usually goes better.”

The planning and help from workers marked Wednesday night a success for many participants, no matter what their results. 

“It was a great opportunity,” Xiaolong said. “The people here are very nice.”