For the second softball tournament, the Siegen Pirates and the Muelheim Mavericks followed the joint invitation of the Wassenberg Squirrels and Heinsberg prison (JVA). The two visiting teams met in the prison to play in a tournament against the team of the Lago Lions, which has been trained for over two years in the correctional facility Heinsberg by the Wassenberg Squirrels. Once again, sport was at its best as a perfect, cross-cultural element. Finally and after some very exiting games the Siegen Pirates won the tournament, the Mülheim Mavericks reached the second place and the Lago Lions finished on third place.
In addition to the sporting aspects that the tournament day had to offer plentiful and at a very high level, also social components of the event played an important role. The Lago Lions team members sincerely rejoiced that, despite their criminal record and the punishment they must serve, they continue to have access to social life through sport, which is usually blocked by the prison walls. Another important aspect: they do not fall into oblivion during their imprisonment with the softball sport. The guests from Siegen and Mülheim showed no fear of contact. Within a short space of time, all athletes engaged in conversations during the game breaks across teams or joked on the pitch. An approach that the project STEPS wants to extend to other sports.
On the evening of the 26th of September 2019, our project partner BSV Wassenberg received the Integration Award 2019 of the local bank Kreissparkasse Heinsberg. The club was awarded for his successful cooperation with the Heinsberg prison.
More than 60 representatives of the awarding Kreissparkasse, of the county and the state parliaments, of the Heinsberg prison, of the county sports association Kreissportbund Heinsberg, of the German Red Cross Organisation, of the baseball club, some mayors from Heinsberg county and other guests, followed the honorific speech of the head of the board of directors of the Kreissparkasse, Mr Thomas Giessing, who highly appreciated the club‘s efforts in terms of the prison work.
In his acceptance speech, the president of the BSV Wassenberg, Peter Dohmen, also reported on the cooperation of the club with European organisations within the ERASMUS+ project STEPS.
Following the presentation of the award, the event ended with a festive finale with live music, snacks and drinks in a convivial atmosphere.