MSO women foster friendship through basketball league

The league meets Sundays at Oakland Junior High School.

Women from the Muslim Student Organization are hitting the Oakland Junior High School courts to practice their basketball skills.

In what began as a pick-up game among friends, the young women from MSO and Rockbridge High School now meet weekly for a couple hours to get exercise and meet new people.

“We actually started last year, and it began as a group of friends and sisters getting together and just playing basketball,” event coordinator Nureen Syed said. “Then this year we expanded to MSO and tried to get more people involved to make it more interesting and more fun.”

The group rented the court every Sunday in February and March, an improvement from last year when Syed and her friends could only use the court once a week for a month.

“This year we’ve expanded it to MSO, and the way it’s different is that there are a lot more girls involved, and we want to make it more official with T-shirts and stuff,” Syed said. “We’d like to make it a nicer event this year.”

Syed, who is originally from Columbia and lives with her family, said the weekly games are a good way to make new friendships while staying active.

“We wanted to get all of the Muslim girls involved that come in from everywhere, and if they’re part of MSO, it’s a good team building activity and a good way to make new friends and get involved and shake things up a little bit,” Syed said. “I felt that was really important and that’s a reason why I wanted to get MSO involved. Not everyone knows each other and it’s a good way to do that.”

Sumaiya Khan, another coordinator of the event, said she thinks the weekly pick-up games have something positive to offer everyone.

“Some girls are uncomfortable to play sports with other guys," Khan said. "Maybe they don’t have time or a location to play. Some are just uncomfortable playing with other people, or maybe they just want to get closer to other girls. So this is a common interest to get girls together, and if they’re comfortable and they like sports and basketball, they can play the game and have a good time.”

Men from MSO have also been shooting hoops recently, with several members forming an intramural team to compete at the MU Student Recreation Complex, but with less success out on the court.

“We made it to the play-offs but we lost by a couple games, so we didn’t do very well,” MSO President Taha Hameduddin said. “But that was in the last couple weeks.”

For Khan and Syed, the goal isn’t winning, but to just get women together on Sunday afternoons and relax.

“The weather is getting nicer, and we just want more people to be active and take advantage of the longer days,” Khan said. “We wanted people to do other things than going to the Rec and give them more options. We hoped that if we made it more official people would be more proactive.”

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