Hong Kong basketball tournament sans DODDS schools?
Published: October 16, 2011
Since the early 1990s, DODDS Pacific teams have been fixtures at the Hong Kong International School Holiday Basketball Tournament.
That is very likely to change, given DODDS Pacific’s policy, implemented last spring, barring student-athletes from home-staying with host-school families at events in which they participate.
There are no U.S. bases or military billeting facilities in Hong Kong, and hotel rooms come at a premium and are quite distant from the school, well to the south on Red Hill Road near the American Club and Stanley Market and Waterfront.
What that does is push the price per head from about $550 for just airfare to well over $1,000. Given today’s economy, in which many relatives of Pacific-based servicemembers are out of work and with some depending on them for financial help, that’s a bit of an undertaking.
Yokota, whose boys and girls tournaments participated for the first time last year, sent word to tournament organizers a few days ago that the Panthers were withdrawing.
It’s very likely that Kadena and Kubasaki, who began playing in the tournament as long ago as 1994, will follow suit in the next few days.
It’s a shame, really. This tournament was the one “true” Far East, with teams representing the DODDS Pacific Far East circuit, Asia-Pacific Activities Conference and International Association of Southeast Asian Schools.
On short notice, organizers might now be forced to plug in replacements to fill out the eight-team boys and eight-team girls fields, either with local Chinese teams, or with schools who have participated in past years when the tournament was held closer to Christmas but fell by the wayside when the tournament moved to Thanksgiving weekend.