Sins of the Recreational Basketball Player (2nd in a series)
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 7, 2012
Sins, of course, carry different weight, come in many shades, stain the basketball soul, sometimes more, sometimes less, permanently. The first sin we identified was Not Running the Floor; the gravity of that sin cannot be overstated. You might as well excuse yourself for a bathroom break, secretly locate and turn on the sprinkler system and send everyone home. Who are you kidding: you don’t want to be there and are just spoiling the game for everyone anyway.
Our second sin, Not Getting the Ball Inbounds Quickly When the Other Team Scores, is related. It has to do with running; it has to with effort; it has to do with the sublime consciousness of outthinking and outdoing and surprising the opposition. (The opposition is, of course, both the other team and the sedentary you.)
Here’s what happens in recreational basketball games: one team scores and the team that was scored upon walks the ball out of bounds and slowly, mutely, listlessly, defeatedly, looks for someone to throw the ball to. But this dullness turns out to be problematic in itself because the scored upon team, your team, is walking up-court, collective heads down, watching the other team celebrate. This is a sin. This is an affront to the collective basketball soul. This is what is wrong with humanity. Somehow basketball became football in the sense that after a score, it seems to be a virtual time-out. I mean, let’s sub and line the ball up and kickoff and then, but only then, try to bring the ball up-court and score. (I like football but get it off my basketball court!)
Like I said in the first post, I’ve played a lot of pick-up basketball and it has always been for me that when the other team scores, I am in a rage. Enraged. And I cannot wait to avenge what just happened. What to do? Take it out and get it in and up-court as fast as possible, preferably, hopefully, while the other team is still gloating, feeling unjustifiably good about themselves. When the ball drops through the net, it’s like the starter’s gun has gone off and you are up and out of the blocks. Their guard is down, is it not? Wipe that smile off their faces. Is there not great satisfaction in that? What happens when you run the ball out and scream for someone to throw it into and sprint up court is your teammates see what is happening and they join the race that you have begun. They run with you. They sense the passion, the possibility, the transcendent nature of basketball as a fast-paced, non-stop game. They scored on you; okay, that’s not a sin. But not trying to answer right away, that sits heavy on the soul.