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Monday Memory: Great Wall Shootout

By Sam Wong, ISB Alumni Relations, and Nick Yates, ISB Communications

In 2004, International School of Beijing (ISB) PE teacher and coach Tim Callahan brought to life his vision for a world-class invitational basketball tournament on campus. The Great Wall Shootout was born.

The Shootout, created as a community event sharing ISB’s top sports facilities with other schools, remains a highlight of the year for everyone at ISB and the visitors. Always held within a few days of the American Thanksgiving Weekend, it’s a fun and competitive tournament with a crackling atmosphere as basketball fans pack the bleachers.

In 2014, the year after Mr. Callahan’s retirement following 17 years at ISB, the event was renamed the Tim Callahan Great Wall Shootout, recognizing its founder’s contribution to the school and local sporting scene. Mr. Callahan worked with basketballers from the littlest Elementary School dribblers to the mightiest Varsity athletes in nearly two decades at ISB. He led teams to win the Shootout, China Cup, and APAC championships, and is still fondly remembered in 2020.

The Tim Callahan Great Wall Shootout is more than just a basketball tournament, combining sportsmanship with meaningful cultural connections. While there is a core group of local schools that regularly attend, the rotating list of participants has included the American International School of Johannesburg and big names from many other countries. Students from visiting schools get to take in sites like the Great Wall and Forbidden City during their time off court, while many friendships have been formed across school communities.

The story of the Shootout forms part of the rich overall history of ISB. In 2020-2021, everyone is invited to join in celebrating the school’s 40th anniversary through a range of events. Check out  the Celebrating 40 web page for more details, and please send your photos and memories of ISB to celebrating40@isb.bj.edu.cn for your chance to be featured here and in the Celebrating 40 Exhibition.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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