Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Game is Pure in the Neighborhood Gym

Basketball season is finally underway. No, not the NBA or NCAA, or even high school seasons, but the local youth leagues have finally begun playing games this season.

There is not a lot of hype and there certainly are not any big named players in the 9-12 year old league. Just a lot of kids and parents and volunteers who gather for practices during the week and weekend games to help develop an understanding and love for the game. 

The game played by the pros and college often bears no resemblance to the version on display at the neighborhood recreation center. They have taken the sport to a level where the game seems very different, and I suppose that is to be expected. 

Yesterday, I reconnected with youth basketball as Ethan, wearing Michael Jordan's number 23, played his first Upward Sports league game of the season. It was an event, as always. The teams gathered and I have to admit that this year it looked a lot more like basketball than perhaps it has appeared in year past. 

The excitement of opening day was clearly present. The was some crisp passing, tenacious defense, and long range baskets. There were no egos or million dollar coaches striding the sidelines. There we no talking head sideline reporters or announcers giving the play-by-play or providing background color on the players. It was basketball.

I do have to cheer a bit. While the video is long, there is a really nice shot made by Ethan early in the game. I especially like his reaction as the shot goes in. It was so early that I was still adjusting to my camera and missed the top of the arc of the shot--but it is still pretty.

Enjoy the game for the game.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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