This is where it all began.
Back in 2006, Mike Evans got the chance to play professional basketball in Belfast, Northern Ireland following his graduation from Hamilton College and suddenly found himself part of a community where rioting between Protestants and Catholics was an everyday historical reality. It wasn’t long after and the Weston, Connecticut native was working alongside local organizations using basketball as a platform for peace among two groups of kids that ultimately become one team — the Belfast Blazers.
Ten years later with Full Court Peace celebrating a decade of global outreach and service, Evans has returned to Belfast with a whole new team.
Evans along with FCP members Jack Barker, Claude Chandonnet, Charlie Reznikoff, Patrick Grover, Beau Santero, Charlie Hoffman and Richard Magnus arrived in Belfast on Sunday for a week of exploring Belfast, sharing the story and experiences of FCP and getting some basketball games in as well.
It’s all part of a goodwill trip and continuing to make a difference in local and international communities through the game of basketball. The roots of Full Court Peace are both rich and deep in Belfast, including the Belfast Blazers making the trip from Ireland to the United States in 2009 to play in basketball games in Connecticut and provide an example of what unity and peace look like. Belfast has also been a huge building block to help grow FCP programs, events and relationships that have spanned from Fairfield County in Connecitcut, to Mexico, Cuba and now back again.
Yet this trip isn’t about just looking back and remembering how far Full Court Peace has come these past 10 years.
It’s also about looking ahead.
Wendell Maxey serves as Director of Social Media & Digital Content for Full Court Peace