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Two Steps at a Time Trailer

19 Feb

As the post production of Two Steps at a Time winds down, a premiere date has been set! On March 24th, at the Strand Cinema in Belfast, Two Steps at a Time will be screened as the main attraction for a PeacePlayers fundraiser.

Check out this sneak peak and stay tuned for more info.


Aoife Session 4 – How Do You Choose Your Friends?

6 Feb

This week, we catch up with Aoife  as dribbles, shoots, and discusses how she picks her friends in a divided society. In her fourth session with PeacePlayers, Aoife learns about the make up of the basketball court and perfects her dribbling technique. As part of the “community relations” portion of the session, Aoife and the members of her team discuss the kinds of people they would and would not want to be friends with.

Using Hoops to Tackle Diversity

18 Jan

This week, Darryl shows us how basketball can be used to discuss young peoples attitudes towards diversity in Northern Ireland.  In this clip, Darryl leads a mixed group of young people from  Catholic and Protestant communities in a first thoughts exercise, while showing them a thing or two about basketball along the way.

Keep in mind that Darryl himself hails from North Belfast, the area single handedly most affected by The Troubles and one still divided along religious lines.

The group is on a course offered through PeacePlayers International’s Leadership Development Programme.

William does Arbinger Training

9 Jan

Belfast is cold, but the light on the basketball court is shining bright.

This week, we check back in with William. As he wraps up his sessions as a coach in the Community Center Basketball League, William joins up with the Arbinger Institute.

The Arbinger Institute is a global consultancy firm that specializes in alternative methods of conflict resolution. Arbinger has joined into a partnership with PeacePlayers globally, working in enhancing basketball as a tool to develop attitudes towards conflict.

This week, we join William and the participants of PeacePlayers Community Centre League take part in a session of Arbinger Training.

Hoops for the Holidays

16 Dec

Seasons Greetings! This past week, the four participants of Two Steps at a Time came together to take part in a holiday basketball tournament called “Jingle Ball”. Amidst the atmosphere of 190 Catholic and Protestant children from divided communities all around Belfast, the tournament offered a full day of basketball, team building, and a great years end atmosphere.

Aoife, Ronny, William, and Darryl all took part in the day, with the latter two coaching the first two. Jingle Ball was awesome to experience and truly see the potential of basketball as a peace building tool in Northern Ireland.

Check out this video from Jingle Ball!


19 Nov

A few weeks ago, I introduced you guys to Ronny and Aoife. We had a small write up for both as well as a short video clip from one of Ronny’s sessions. This week, I would like to introduce Aoife and show a clip from her first “cross community” session with PeacePlayers. Aoife is a nine year old who attends St. Matthews primary school in the Short Strand area of Belfast. The Short Strand is a Catholic enclave in the predominantly Protestant East Belfast. Over the years, the Short Strand has been largely effected and defined in terms of the sectarian violence that has plagued the area, especially in the summer months. In this segment Aoife tells us a bit about herself, where she’s from, and her first experience in being on a team with Protestants.

In case you were wondering, Aoife is pronounced “E-Fah”.

Leadership Development with Darryl

11 Nov

This past week, filming for Two Steps at a Time picked up with the eldest of our participants, Darryl, embarking on the Leadership Development Programme (LDP). The Leadership Development Program is a program led by PeacePlayers in which 17-25 year olds from interface communities in Belfast have the opportunity to gain qualifications in youth and community work by going on weekend residential workshops as a group.

This year, Darryl is running the LDP. He is a Catholic from the Ardoyne area of North Belfast and former participant of the LDP himself. Darryl was able to use the skills he gained during his time as a participant to enhance his capability as a basketball coach and become a full-fledged LDP facilitator.

Darryl is a testament to the power that basketball and sport in general can have that extends far beyond the boundaries of the court.  Below is a short video about Darryl’s first session with this years LDP class.

Getting to know Ronny and Aoife

28 Oct

This week, filming continues with two of our primary school participants. Aoife and Ronny, both nine years old, began their basketball sessions and met “the other” community for the first time. Aofie comes from a Catholic community and Ronny Protestant. Their schools are both segregated and contact with the “other” is often an afterthought. Ultimately, despite all the religious divisions and educational segregation, I’ve noticed that kids will be kids. By this I mean that any hesitation in meeting each other is more a question of unfamiliarity than any deep seeded religious motives. These kids were born in 2001 and any segregation that exists in their lives was predetermined long before they had a chance to make up their own minds.

Watching these two nine year olds meet their Catholic and Protestant neighbors and play hoops for the first time felt familiar. It felt like an experience most of us have had before. Being in a new setting, unsure, nervous, anxious, but oddly excited. It is not a feeling that is unique to Belfast. And like most of us, the second a game similar to basketball is thrown in the mix, that sense of unfamiliarity quickly fades.

As I am getting to know Aoife and Ronny better I’m starting to realize that “difference” is less a concept that surrounds our lives 24 hours a day , but more so one that is taught to us and we are led to believe.

Below is a link to a video from Ronny’s first session with PeacePlayers. This is an introductory session where he is introduced to the concept of what is termed “cross community work” between Catholic and Protestants and how basketball can be the vehicle in doing so.

And so it begins…

13 Oct

Greetings from Belfast.

Fall in Northern Ireland is always an interesting season. The leaves change colors, heavy coats begin to come out, and from first glance all seems like a typical Autumn. But on the backbone of a summer commonly referred to as “rioting season”, the Northern Irish fall is a far cry from the smells and sounds most are used to. Flags fly high as the territorial nature of Northern Ireland is at its peak and communities must reconcile relationships that have been broken down during the tumultuous summer months.

Production for “Two Steps at a Time” started October 1st, with our four participants beginning their journey in basketball. William, Aoife, Darryl, and Ronny will be challenged to use basketball and the concept of team to overcome the divisive nature of the society around them and see their Catholic and Protestant neighbors as more than just “the other”. Over the next four months, we will see whether a non-traditional sport can make an impact on a society that all to often lets tradition define and divide. I, Will Maloney, will be using this blog to update you on their progress and give you a bit more insight into Belfast from the eyes of its young people.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to William.

Hello world!

9 Oct

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