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Mission trip to France offers perspective for North student-athletes


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Brett Fathauer (third row, left, in hat and sunglasses), Speidel (back row in blue and white All-Stars shirt), Cameron Fathauer (back center) and David Speidel (next to Cameron Fathauer in hat and sunglasses) helped conduct a basketball camp for about 30 kids last week in Marseille, France. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Brett Fathauer (third row, left, in hat and sunglasses), Speidel (back row in blue and white All-Stars shirt), Cameron Fathauer (back center) and David Speidel (next to Cameron Fathauer in hat and sunglasses) helped conduct a basketball camp for about 30 kids last week in Marseille, France. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Josh Speidel, back center, enjoys a moment with a few of the kids attending the basketball camp.  SUBMITTED PHOTO
Josh Speidel, back center, enjoys a moment with a few of the kids attending the basketball camp. SUBMITTED PHOTO


GROWING up in Columbus, Josh Speidel and Cameron Fathauer have taken some things for granted.

After putting on a basketball camp last week as part of a mission trip in Marseille, France, the Columbus North students aren’t taking them for granted any longer.

Speidel and his father David, Fathauer and his father Brett, and Community Church of Columbus pastor Chuck Coleman and his wife Emily spent a week-and-a-half in Marseille teaching the game of basketball and interacting with their French hosts.

The younger Speidel and Fathauer realized not everyone experiences the same kind of lifestyle as them.

About the basketball camp

Columbus North basketball players Josh Speidel and Cameron Fathauer helped teach about 30 French children the fundamentals of basketball during a week-and-a-half stay in Marseille, France.

The camp’s instructors: Speidel — a 6-foot, 7¾-inch post player —    is about to enter his junior year at North; Fathauer — a 6-foot guard — will be a sophomore.

Fathauer on putting life in perspective: “Even the poorest person here (in Columbus) that probably has the worst house, it would be a really nice house because no one in Marseille really has their own home.”

Speidel on the language barrier: “It was kind of like a game of charades. They would try to point out what they were trying to say, and we’d try to point out what we were trying to say. That was fun.”

“Even the poorest person here (in Columbus) that probably has the worst house, it would be a really nice house because no one in Marseille really has their own home,” said Fathauer, who will be a sophomore. “Everyone lives in the projects. We really just took for granted what we have.”

“You never realize, but it’s a whole new world out there that we were able to experience,” said Speidel, who will be a junior.

The Speidels, Fathauers and Colemans stayed with former Community Church of Columbus members Robert and Vicki Anthony, who ran the camp for the seventh year in a row. The Anthonys formerly served in the African country of Chad before beginning the camp in France.

About 30 kids from ages 10 to 18 took part in the camp.

“The first day, we were trying to figure out who was good because we knew they weren’t going to be that great,” Fathauer said. “We divided up who was kind of good and who really needed some work and did basic fundamental drills.”

“A lot of the kids started from scratch and didn’t know how to play basketball,” Speidel said. “The big sport there is soccer.”

And Islam is the big religion in Marseille.

“That was really cool to see because one of the kids we met, his name was Ramzy, and he became like our best friend, and he told us he was Muslim,” Fathauer said. “We had no idea until the last day because their was one point Josh and I were walking around town, and there were a ton of Muslims praying. I had my American shirt on, and I don’t know why, but I just felt like ‘Oh, no, they’re going to hurt me or something,’ but not all Muslims are radicals.”

Fathauer said the biggest issue the Americans faced in Marseille was the language barrier since none of the French spoke English.

“It was kind of like a game of charades,” Speidel said. “They would try to point out what they were trying to say, and we’d try to point out what we were trying to say. That was fun.”

“They’re taught English in school, but a lot of them have never heard someone that actually speaks English,” Fathauer said. “But somehow, God allowed us to connect with these kids so well. They just loved talking to Josh and me.”

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