Wednesday, July 19, 2017

FIMBA-USA STRIKES GOLD IN ITALY 2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS


The 2017 FIMBA WORLD CHAMPIOSHIP, June 28

Buona seora…Peace and Blessings from Pescia, Italy

                     
         FIMBA-USA PRESS with [L-R] FIMBA-USA President Jim Sweeney, Torrin Tucker,                 
                        Eddie Davis, and Lahh Woods at the Reception in Montecatini, Italy.
 
In the Bronx we got Little Italy on 149th Street and Morris 
Avenue.  It’s up the block from Lincoln Hospital, and 
P.S. 18 where a brother went to elementary school 
effortlessly scoring points at Science Fairs, Math Exams, 
and Art Contest.  Little Italy uptown, had a few 
restaurants on the edge of our Black, and Puerto Rican 
universe next to the Patterson Projects.   When you 
became a teen, with a few dollars in your pocket, 
and a little heart…You could take a pretty girl there to 
have a slice of pizza, and some zeppoles, and she 
would be impressed.   Just a small two or three block 
area with a lot of social, and political juice.  Those busy 
little blocks with a big Roman Catholic Church on top 
of the mountain, just like Lucca, Pisa, and Florence.  

                                                                      
[SCROLL TOWARDS BOTTOM FOR STORY UPDATES]

Well not exactly, but those little dusty blocks between 
Patterson, and Melrose projects was important enough 
for the Pope to stop for a visit in 1964. We’ll pick this 
up a little later.  This part of the country, Tuscany, is a 
green colored land of paradoxes…Old, and modern 
at the same time.  Beautiful, medieval, churches, 
snuggle neatly beside a lush countryside, within 
fortified combat weary walls, and battlements.  
The bloody conflicts, and warfare were practiced,
and perfected here before being exported into 
major world affairs from WWI, the two 
criminal Italian invasions of Ethiopia, and 
WWII…aka “The Big One.” 
        [Google it.]         

                         
       

  

Saturday, July 1st 
                         Greece 60+                           USA+60
   
                        vs       








   [Report by Eddie Davis III   OPENING GAME

Due to their lack of size, I saw during the layup line that 
it was going to be a long day for Greece’s 60 year old 
team. To start of the game our PF Julio scored the first 10 
points for us, couldn’t have had a better start.  For the 
remainder of the first half Greece seemed as if they were 
just coughing the ball up. Their offense was no match for 
our press which eventually had to be taken off because 
of all the damage it was doing to Greece’s offense. 

There were stretches throughout the game where USA 
had stolen he ball 4 or 5 times in a row. For every 
basket Greece had, we had 4 more coming right back. 
The US lead went from 20, to 30, to 40, and eventually 
50 and more.   At the end of the game, both teams 
showed great sportsmanship and shook hands. They 
both took a team picture together at the end.    
Final score was 102-41

 
The Next Game will be the US vs Puerto Rico on 
Monday, and that game will surely be a tough one.
                                                       
Monday, July 3rd 
      USA 60+ [1-0]                     VS                  Puerto Rico-B 60+ [1-0]
                        


 
 
 
 
[Report by Torrin Tucker]

Game 2

Today’s game started out very competitively. Both 
teams put in a good effort, and this was evident in the 
way that they played. A few minutes into the first 
quarter, team USA kept the lead and began to stretch 
their lead. As the game went on the ladies in our section 
began to cheer louder and louder whenever the US 
scored. You could definitely tell that they were proud 
of their husbands on the team. By the end of the 
first half, the US was leading 41-14, but the 
Puerto Rican team was still giving all that they 
had, they scored a little more in the 3rd quarter 
than they had previously. Team USA kept scoring 
consistently, and ended up growing their lead until 
the game ended 67-30.  Both teams shook hands 
at the end and posed to take a few pictures in a 
great show of sportsmanship and mutual respect. 


The Next game will be the US vs Russia on Wednesday,
which will surely 
be an IMC [Instant Masters Classic] 

FLORENCE: THE CITY OF HEAVEN'S DOOR
 Report by Eddie Davis III


 Thus busy day started off early. At 8:00 a.m we were on
our way to the train station to Florence. Our ride was rather
long, it took about 45 minutes to an hour to get there (that
gave me some time to catch up on some sleep). We met up
with our tour guides at the Saint Maria Church. Before
we further explored Florence, our guides gave 
us some background on the Church. Then we were
on our way.  We stopped at many sites where we filled
in on the history of each building. They showed us churches
that took years to build. What stood out to me the most was
"The Basilica Di St. Lorenzo". Stories that were told about the
basilica were very interesting and I look forward to doing
more research on it. Today was another full day 
but we learned a lot.  



 FLORENCE: THE CITY OF HEAVEN'S DOOR
[Part Two]
Story by Torrin Tucker
 



Today was spent in Florence, Italy. After riding the
train for an hour, we arrived in Florence and we met our
tour guides by the Santa Maria Novella church. They told us
a little about the history of the church and the surrounding
area, and as we walked they pointed out historical buildings,
and the stories behind them. I was amazed at how much
history and culture was present  here, and that our guides
knew so much just from memory. Eventually we ended up in
the Basilica di S. Lorenzo, and we saw how massive, and
how ornate the structure was. This, and other buildings
around the area were built by the Medici family, we were 
told, and they served as churches and museums as a
way to show their wealth. Actually about half the tour
had something to do with this family, and I was amazed
at how much they helped mold the history of this area.
Today was definitely a fun and educational day, and
I am thankful for receiving this opportunity. 

Wednesday, July 5rh

RUSSIA 60+ [A] [2-0]            VS             USA 60+ [2-0]
VS
               

               



Report by: Eddie Davis III


Today's game was a rather physical one against the Russian's 
60 + team. USA knew before the game that they were in for a 
tough physical game but I doubt anybody expected what was in 
store for us this game. During the first quarter the Russians broke 
for an early lead. USA made a conscious effort to shorten the 
gap and eventually take the lead by the end of the first. Second 
quarter is when the physical aspect of the game started to take place. 

 Team USA 60+ [Kneeling L-R] Kevin Johnson, Lahh Woods, Mark
David, Jerry Gilbert. [Standing L-R] Ricci Greenwood, Neil
Nelson, Warren Prehmus, Coach Roger Larson, Julio Davila,
John Hutchcraft, Dan Vahalla, Loren Killion.

USA was playing great, up close defense and you can
tell that this style of play was irritating the Russians.
Although the referees weren't catching most of the blows,
 they saw a few of the cheap shots that were given and the
penalty wasn't as severe as we wanted it to be, but it
was a foul nonetheless. As the first half came to a close,
the USA has held on to their lead, and they know to
expect more physical play in the second half. 

Third quarter got off to a good start, as the USA
continued to pressure the ball handlers and making the
offense do what they wanted them to do. Turnovers,
forced shots, and offensive fouls were all being called.
It was during the third quarter where the 
elbows and "dirty" playing began to get out of hand.
3 or 4 elbows to the face were thrown by the players on
the Russian team (mainly  #10). The referees recognized
what was going on, and they put forth an effort to stop it,
but that wasn't enough. As the game went on, 2 or 3 more
shots were thrown toward the USA players, but they
remained calm, and collected, and kept their big 
20 plus point lead. Although the Russian team
was making uncalled-for fouls, the USA got the last
laugh at the end of the game with their great 24
point win. Final score was 70-46. 

Report by: Torrin Tucker


Before and throughout the game I got a chance to talk
with some of the crowd. There were the ladies rooting for the
US team, a member of the USA 65+ team, and a player from
the Peruvian women's team among the mix of people I've
talked to today. Talking to the women supporting team USA,
I learned how excited and enthusiastic they were for this
game. More than a few even called that there was no way
the Russian team would win. Throughout the game they
were screaming their support for the US team and kept
their energy up. More than a few times I thought that they
had an effect on the game in terms of motivating the team.

Later on, around half time, I started talking to a player from 
the Peruvian women's team about the tournament, Regina Floria. 
She told me about how great of an opportunity this tournament 
was, and that she and her team worked very hard to get here. 
I was also fortunate enough to talk to a member of the USA 
Men's 65+ team, Earl "Chicken" Dickson. He told me about how 
his team hasn't lost a game yet and hopefully will go to the 
championship game. He also estimated that the Men's 60+ 
team would also be going to the championship. Talking to these 
people today helped me understand the different ways FIMBA 
basketball is important to people from different perspectives. 
Taking the time to talk to people and getting to know a little 
about them is what I look forward to doing it for the next few 
days.

 SCROLL TOWARDS BOTTOM FOR STORY UPDATES...

*****************************

FIMBA-USA
GAME RESULTS
From Montecatini, Italy

FIMBA-USA-50 who had a record of 2-0 was 
defeated by Latvia-50 by the score of 74-50.  Latvias 
perimeter shooting, rebounding and low post defense 
was something for the USA-50 to contend with, 
eliminating them from the medal round.

*****************
FIMBA-USA 55, who had worked so hard to 
advance out of pool play, was defeated by Italy by 
the score of 54-52.  USA-50 was 2-0 and playing 
well prior to their loss to the host team from Italy 
with several former European professional players.   

**************
FIMBA-USA 60, with a record of 3-0 has 
moved into the medal round with a win over 
Russia 60.  Their next game is vs Puerto Rico 
60 B who eliminated Russia 60 by ten points the 
other day.  This should be a great game, with both 
teams with their eyes on FIMBA Gold.

*************************
FIMBA-USA 65 has advance to the next level 
with a 3-0 record, and are winning by the margin 
of twenty-five points or better with each win.
They are in the FINAL FOUR and look like
strong contenders to repeat as FIMBA WORLD
CHAMPIONS in the age 65+ Division.

****************************
FIMBA-USA 70+A defeated FIMBA-USA 70-B
to advance into the medal round.  FIMBA rules
state that two teams from the same country 
cannot compete in a championship game, so this 
US vs US face-off was unavoidable. Congrats to 
both teams, and best of luck to FIMBA-USA A 
in their continued quest for FIMBA Gold.

***************************
FIMBA-USA 75, as far as this reporter knows
is still in the medal hunt.  We will get back to 
you with more details later today.

***************
Story by Eddie Davis III: 
Day Tour of Tuscany


Based on what we were told last night, we knew 

this day was going to be longer than the other 
ones, but it would be a fun one. We were taking a 
trip to Montepulciano, a Medieval town. 
Montepulciano is on top of one of the many 
mountains in the area so our time there involved 
lots of walking up large hills and steep stairwells. 
There was a lot of people living there as well as 
tourists like ourselves. It was a packed 
environment as well as a great number of stores 
around that has everything you're looking for. 
We were introduced to an Italian man who 
was very talented and handmade art and 
lots of kitchen utensils such as pots and pans.

 Later on that day we took the bus about 
an hour or so to a winery in a village far from 
civilization. Here is where many of the adults were 
given wine to taste and eat with the food that was 
served to us. Lasagna, salami, tenderloin, as well as 
ham and different cheeses were provided. After we 
ate they showed the barrels where they keep the 
wine and their machinery. On our way out, we 
admired the amazing view from the top of the hill. 
We then took a trip to Sienna to go sight seeing 
for about an hour which put an end to an 
amazing, productive day!

Story by Torrin Tucker:

 Going in to today I had no idea what to 
expect. We had been told that we'd be 
visiting a winery and seeing a medieval town, 
but that left a lot of room for speculation. Not 
having experienced either before, I was left to 
assume what the experience would be like. 
But now that I have, it's something that I'll 
never forget.

First we got on a bus that took us to a town 
about an hour away called Montepulciano. It's 
a relatively small town with a population of 1400, 
but also it's architecture has been preserved 
since the Middle ages. We walked around there 
while getting some historical information from 
our tour guide, and we eventually met a copper 
smith and a few of us bought some of his work. We 
then went and visited a winery within the same 
valley, but the mountain roads made the journey 
take about 30 minutes. We ate lunch at the winery, 
which produces 200,000 bottles of wine a year, and 
we met the family that runs the place. Finally, we 
traveled to Sienna, one of the larger towns in 
Tuscany, and we walked around there while taking 
pictures of the architecture and skyline. All the 
things I've seen today make me eager to return to 
Italy one day and learn more about the history 
and culture.


**************************** 


Report by Eddie Davis III
 
This game was a very crucial one. A win today can 
give the Men's USA 60+ Team a spot in the finals. 
Both teams are feeling confident after coming off a 
win against two different Russian teams. Puerto Rico 
had almost a full team of guards. Size was going to 
be a problem for them when facing this USA team. 
As you know USA has more than a few big men 
themselves as well as guards. Although PR is
short a few big men, they are not to be counted out. 
They are very scrappy and do not give up easily. 
They have earned respect from many teams 
involved in this event. 



First half, USA began to use their speed and 
killer instinct on the defensive end to their advantage. 
They took control on the offensive and defensive 
rebounds, as well as controlling the paint, causing 
forced shots by the opponent. Second half, once the 
USA began to heat up, Puerto Rico made a conscious 
effort to stay in the game, and making the most out of 
their offensive possessions. Puerto Rico found ways to 
score, but the USA looked as if they were not panicked 
and they expanded  their lead until the game came to an 
end. It was a great effort by both teams, but the USA 
came out with the victory once again. Final score 
was 73-52.



Puerto Rican Day Parade...New York City




Report by Torrin Tucker
Today's game had a lot of people excited. When 
the game began the US started off scoring a ton 
without PR being able to return too many points. 
You could see in the faces of the crowd there for the 
US that they were pretty confident that their lead 
would last. And they were mostly right, until PR 
started coming back and brought the US' lead within 
3 points. As the game went on, the US pulled away and
eventually won the game 73-52. After the game, I was
able to interview a member of the USA Men's 60+ team,
Lahh Woods aka "La Generale."

I asked Lahh about some of his thoughts going into this
 game against Puerto Rico, when they were last year's
 FIMBA Pan American Games Champions for 60+
 Division, while this US team were the FIMBA Pan
 American Games Champions for the 55+ division.
 He told me "I knew that this game would be tough
 because Boriquas play hard defense, and play with heart 
and with passion. I knew that the US team better be 
prepared to play hard despite the fact that we
 outnumbered them." Lahh also told me that a good
 portion of the Puerto Rican 60+ team were BSN 
professional basketball players in the 1970's. I also
 asked him if going against a team from where our
 family originates made a difference in the way he 
played? Lahh told me"I did not play differently, but 
I am aware of the Boriqua style of play, and what is 
in their hearts." My final topic of discussion with
 Lahh was the addition of Puerto Rico to the US as a 
territory in 1898. He described it as, "It was a land grab 
by the United  States. After driving out Spanish rule
the US never left. Do you think that's truth, justice and 
democracy?" Throughout the game, and even afterwards
you could see the respect the members of each team
had for each other. Coming together, and playing a
 game that we all love helps to define that sense of 
brotherhood among not only your teammates, but 
your opponents on the court.

 Puerto Rico-60 [Team A] and FIMBA USA-60, Postgame.

********************************** 
The Last Full Day in Montecatini
Report by: Lahh Woods

It's been said that you can never have too much awesome,
and I basically agree.  Life is a celebration of love, positive 
spirit, and community.  This has been my experience, here 
in Italy, on a trip of a lifetime with my two talented, and
"charming" grandsons.  Yes, they are all that a parent, 
and grandparent could desire in a young man...However
the elder's work is never done, as we pass the baton to 
our children, our extended families, and to our 
community.

...Peace, Blessings, and, Justice Lahh



**************************
The Last Full Day in Montecatini
Report by: Eddie Davis III

A day that got off to a great start. Once we woke up,we 
took a cab and headed to the arena to watch the men's championship games. There were great games between 
both USA teams, the 75's and 70's. They took first place 
in both. After many pictures, videos, and interviews, 
we headed out to Montecatini where we were 
going to have dinner. James Payne (a Masters Legend) 
joined us and showed us to this amazing restaurant. It 
was there where we had conversations that gave 
me a different outlook on life, family, and opportunity.

Grand-Master James Payne holding court at
2015 FIMBA WORLD GAMES in Orlando, FL.

If we hadn't stopped at this restaurant, there would have 
been many things I would still not know about, as far as, life. 
I am grateful for my grandfather, and the talks he's given me 
over the years. Nobody's promised tomorrow, so we have to 
enjoy every moment of our lives. Most importantly we have to 
do it with love, and share our experiences with one another. Montecatini was amazing, a place I would never forget. 
Hopefully someday I can come back, if not, then I can tell 
people about my awesome experience there. Italy will be 
missed, but I'm happy I got a chance to go on this trip, and 
see what I saw, because this is an opportunity most people 
never get the chance to experience. It was a great trip and 
I'm looking forward to the next one, and sharing it with 
you all. 

************************
Report by Torrin  Tucker:
Our Last Full Day in Italy

Today is our last full day in Italy. We started it off by
going down to one of the gyms, and watching the 
championship games of some of the other age groups. 
I was amazed at how hard they played in the 70+, and 
75+ teams. We watched the 70+, and 75+ US teams win 
their championships, and then decided to walk 
around Montecatini until we ran into one Mr. James 
Payne. He took us to a restaurant and after a nice meal,
started sharing his travel experiences with us. 

As the night went on, I saw how many doors were 
opened for Mr. Payne, because he continued to stay active, 
and play basketball into his 60's. While he showed us his 
pictures of places I've only ever dreamed of going, and 
told us about each and every person he met, I realized that 
I want to be able to travel the world like that. I want to 
meet people and make new connections outside of my 
home town. When it was time to leave and head back 
to the hotel, we took one last look around the city, and 
soaked in all we could. This trip has changed the 
way I see the world, and I am eager to return.

*********************
The 2017 FIMBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
GAME IN THE 60+ DIVISION 

ITALY                                             USA



         VS

Game Report #1 by Eddie Davis III

Italy-60 vs USA-60 is a game to be remembered. In the
first minutes of the game, you could see that Italy
was becoming comfortable with running their offense.
USA had spurts of good baskets, but Italy was countering 
with baskets of their own.  USA began to kick it up a
notch on the defensive end, and started getting stops,
and scoring out of their defensive efforts.  This all 
contributed to an US-60 eight point half-time lead.


In the second half, the US 60 team had the game well
in hand.  Defensive stops, hustle points, rebounds, 
and fast breaks, all came together, and gave them
a twenty point lead.  A lead they increased throughout
the game. The USA-60's amazing efforts in each
quarter played a huge roll in their victory.  The
FIMBA-USA 60 Team are World Champions 
an award well deserved.





 FIMBA-USA 60-2017 WORLD CHAMPIONS

 Game Report #2 by Torrin Tucker

The final game of the FIMBA Men's 60+ Division
brought in a huge crowd that mad a significant
amount of noise throughout the game.  Fans of the
US team, and fans of the Italian team chanted
back and forth, as each of their respective teams
played a good game of basketball.  





While Italy was ahead in the first quarter, their
section was lively, and energized.  They continued 
to harbor that energy all throughout the game, even 
when the US-60 came back to take the lead.  
The fans of the FIMBA USA-60 were just as
pumped for the game, but you could see that
were the slightest bit uneasy in the first.  
Eventually, the US took the lead and held it
until they won 80-53.  After the game, when the
medals were being awarded, the players, and 
the crowd alike, were respectful, and happy
for each other.  And I think that this is an
example of the sense of brotherhood that
basketball give people.  


FIMBA ITALY 60 vs USA 60 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME VIDEO

During the handing out medals, and trophies,
my cousin Eddie, and I were unexspectedly
given gold medals for contributing press, and 
media for Team FIMBA-USA 60.  Receiving
the medal, and being recognized as a World
Champ felt really good, and it really makes
me fell like I'm a part of the team.


Notes from the Editor: Congratulations and
Blessings to the two young scholars, who are
now 2017 FIMBA World Champions...
This was their first international, reporting
assignment, and I pray to the creator that
it is not their last.
Love and Blessings....Baba
2

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