It’s very common for college basketball teams to venture overseas for summer competitions. However, it’s very uncommon that teams go overseas for a bonding, educational and life changing experience.
Last month, coach Ron Hunter and the Georgia State Panthers basketball team went abroad with Samaritan’s Feet on a trip to South Africa.
Without playing a single game, the team definitely bettered itself for this upcoming witner season. Hunter has nine new players to this year’s roster, and this experience definitely gave the scatter parts a chance to grow into a collective unit. The players were not allowed to bring cell phones and were faced with only being able to interact with their teammates, the barren land, and the impoverished natives of South Africa.
Many players wept watching kids struggle through poverty. They realized that while living in the States, they worry about what to have for lunch when in South Africa, kids are thankful for simply receiving one meal a day.
To honor the people the visited and whose hearts they instilled hope in, the Panthers will chant “Zero-Zero-One” in honor of a prayer they say in South Africa prior to games this season.
Samaritan’s Feet’s website describes its organization as a “community of more than 70,000 volunteers who have joined together to make a difference in the lives of children in need in every corner of the world.”
The non-profit has helped an estimated 4.5 million impoverished children and adults in more than 60 nations. The program aids these Africans by helping wash their feet and donating new pair of shoes.
Through Samaritan’s Feet, Hunter strives to provide as many children with as many shoes as possible. He’s traveled around the world, to the likes of Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru and South Africa to help the nearly 300 million people worldwide who face this issue everyday.
While the Panthers should be a relatively successful basketball team this winter, its players will never allow on court success to overcome the passion and emotion they felt and will forever feel for the people of South Africa.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for the Arena Pulse at Rant Sports. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.