As a graduate of Kansas University, where basketball is not just a passion but where it was practically invented, I was proud to inaugurate a two-day basketball clinic last Saturday for young Hyderabadi boys and girls. It may seem strange to think of the American consulate hosting a basketball clinic, but actually, we see sports diplomacy as an important area of exchange between the United States and other countries. Participating in sports helps transcend cultural differences and brings people together. At the same time, it also teaches leadership, teamwork, and encourages respect for rules and for one another.
From February 17 to 27, SportsUnited conducted a sports visitor exchange with India in which ten female and male coaches from all over India visited the United States for a ten-day basketball program. Amruth Raj and Amitha Jaiswal were our basketball emissaries from Hyderabad. During this program, participants met with sports professionals, athletes from American schools, and engaged in several activities on teambuilding and safety. The group also went to Orlando, Florida for intensive training in coaching and participation in the NBA Coaches Clinics.
Before opening our clinic in Hyderabad, I had a chance to speak with Amruth and Amitha about the highlights of their U.S. experience. Both were impressed that American parents enthusiastically support their children’s participation in sports. Having just spent the summer with my sister and brother-in-law, both of whom attend numerous softball and soccer games to encourage and inspire my nieces, I wholeheartedly agree with their observation. They also said watching an all-star game in Florida was a dream come true.
Gurdit Singh is the new Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General, Hyderabad