Hi Wes, how are you? Can you introduce yourself?
I am a retired high school teacher/coach. I was the Men’s Basketball Coach at Heidelberg American High School in Germany from 1978 to 1990. I then became the came e Athletic Director for the school until I retired in 2006. I currently live in southern Wisconsin.
Wes Sisson is 1st standing from left
What year did you come to the tournament? What are your memories?
I came to the tournament in 1986 and 1987. My greatest memory is of the hospitality shown to us by the Cholet community. I also remember how tall the other teams were. We had no one taller than 2 meters, but it seemed like the other teams had no one less than 2 meters.
Do you have a player who impressed you when you came to Cholet Mondial Basketball?
No one player stands out. I was impressed by the skill level that all the players showed.
At that time, how was the tournament perceived in the United States?
I think that the tournament was unknown in the United States. Even the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany was relatively unknown. Today, European Basketball is better known as many American players have played in European Leagues, and as Sports channels, such as ESPN have televised many European sports events.
Since the attacks of September 11, it is very difficult to bring American teams … Can you tell us why? Another reasons ?
I don’t think that the attacks of September 11 are a major factor in the decision to not to participate in the tournament.
American teams are part of school activities. As such, having the time to organize a team of athletes from many schools in America would be extremely difficult. The monetary cost of organizing and bringing a team to France would be prohibitive.
During March and April, American schools are involved with their State Tournaments, and preparation for the coming Spring sports. Also, athletes are very aware that their future in that sport is going to be determined here in America.
When I was involved in 1986 and 1987, we were able to organize a team from the American Schools in Europe.
The number of American schools in Europe has declined as the number of American troops have been reduced. Many athletes are also involved in other sports at their schools.
Leadership in the American Schools(DoDDS) in Wiesbaden has also changed.
This year, the tournament celebrates its 37 th edition. More than 350 volunteers work during the week end and all the year so that it is as perfect as possible. What would you say to these people?
I would say “Thank You” to the many volunteers. Without their efforts an event such as this would not be possible. Their efforts provide an experience that the participants would not have in any other way. I know that many of the young Americans that participated look back appreciatively on their experience.
If you have the possibility, can you come back on the tournament ?
We would love to come back and be a part of the tournament. If we ever were to come back, we would certainly make every effort to come at tournament time.
Thank you so much Wes!