CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Soldiers had the opportunity to face a unique challenge when they hosted an exhibition basketball game against members of the Kuwaiti National Guard, April 20, on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Sgt. 1st Class Demara M. Boone, the incoming noncommissioned officer in charge of the installation transportation office with Area Support Group – Kuwait, said he helped plan and organize the event because he remembered having the opportunity to play the Kuwaiti National Guard during his last deployment to Kuwait from 2009 to 2010.
“I think it is a fantastic way to continue the great relationship we have with our host nation,” said Boone, a Scotland Neck, N.C., native. “This is their country and we want to show them that we enjoy being here.”
Spc. Bruce Robinson, a human resource specialist with the 406th Human Resource Company and Atlanta native, said since he is stationed in Germany he has had the opportunity to experience international basketball, but he was excited for the opportunity to be able to play a Kuwaiti team.
“It was a lot of fun; I hope to be able to do it again because it’s not something that comes up every day,” said Robinson. “They had a really good team.”
First Sgt. Abdul Aziz, a soldier in the Kuwaiti National Guard, said even though the Kuwaiti National Guard has played on Camp Arifjan in the past, this was his first opportunity to play basketball against U.S. Soldiers.
“We had a very good experience playing here,” said Aziz. “We hope that we can come back again and again.”
Aziz, who plays on Kuwait’s national team, said he has been playing basketball since he was 10 years-old and was looking forward to playing more games against other service members.
“They had a really strong team,” said Aziz. “It was a tough game but I really enjoyed it.”
The Soldiers held the lead for most of the game and eventually held on for the win, but even after the final buzzer, it was all smiles on both sides of the court.
“There was a lot of good sportsmanship on both sides which really made the game fun,” said Robinson. “It was awesome to be able to go out there and be able to laugh and joke with the Kuwaitis.”
“I hope that we get to play them again but next time on their home court,” he added.
Boone said more games are already in the works with an all female game coming up soon.
“It’s a real morale booster; the Soldiers here are really excited about being able to play [host nation service members]. They are used to playing their peers so when I put out the invitation for this team I had a lot of really positive feedback,” Boone said. “Hopefully we can do this at least three more times before I leave and then once I am gone I would like to see someone else take over and continue these games.”