This year, for the first time, ASB staff in Epirus have a team in the Ioannina Basketball Workplace Championship. As the initiative of several employees, including Katsikas’ Wash & Shelter Manager Vassilis Tsinou who spoke to us after the last game, the ASB team which is in the A2 division of the Championship is currently in the top position with 3 wins and only one defeat.
The Work Championship in Ioannina is made up of 30 teams competing in two divisions, A1 and A2 with 14 teams in one and 16 in the other respectively. ASB is competing in the A2 division as it is new to the Championship. The Championship is attended by teams such as the Police and Fire Brigade, as well as independents in the private sector such as Vico Water and Nitsiakos Poultry Products. ASB is currently in the first place, having played one game more than the other teams.
The idea behind the creation of the team came from employees who had previously competed in the championship. Thus it was a joint decision. As Vasilis Tsinos stated, “The initiative was a joint decision by all the participants in the group and it continues to this day. All decisions are of course taken collectively after discussion.”
But the team is not just about the players and the coach, and they don’t want that either. Many ASB members find themselves at the basketball court every week taking pictures and supporting the players. Even in the recent game against Terracom, which ASB lost, the fans were there until the end. This is exactly what Mr. Tsinos himself wanted to emphasise by saying: “The colleagues who watch us from the stands reinforce us and applaud us whether we win or lose.”
That is exactly one of the main goals behind creating the team. The coexistence of colleagues outside the work environment in a more relaxed and fun setting reinforces relationships between staff. In particular, Mr. Tsinos said that “The goal of the team is to combine sport with fun. After the game the team players get together with the colleagues who come to watch us and we all go somewhere together, thereby strengthening the bond between colleagues. ”
Perhaps the most important element of the team, however, is the highlight of ASB’s work. According to Mr. Tsinos, the team intends to continue in the future in the Workplace championships, so that it will gradually develop both at a competitive as well as a social level. The aim is to develop actions that will highlight ASB’s work in the society of Ioannina. He also states that “When we show up on court there is a lot of interest, they ask us who we are, what ASB does, etc. The same goes for our counterparts who receive the same questions. It is our goal to develop further initiatives through this. The team is new and still organized. As soon as conditions permit, we will also organize publicity actions for ASB’s work. ”
Finally, we talked about the possibility of having refugees in the team in the future. This possibility has been discussed and is one of the teams desirable goals. Mr Tsinos stressed that a request has already been made to the organisers and although the refugees do not belong to a workplace the response received was positive. As he characteristically stated, the organisers wish to “find the new Antetokounbo”. Unfortunately, however, there was not enough time to find a refugee who could join the team this season. According to Mr. Tsinos, however, the team wish to do so: “We look forward to the new season where we will have more time to find refugees who will be able to join the ASB team.”