Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hoopsters, baby!

The basketball was a little ragged at times. Okay, it was frequently ragged. The officials, understandably, looked the other way as players took several steps while holding the ball and frequently double, triple and quadruple dribbled the ball.

None of the coaches or fans complained. The coaches were too busy trying to give instructions and the fans were too busy laughing or encouraging the little ones.

This was not a high school, junior high or elementary game. Nope, it was Hoopsters action at the Heavener High School gym early on a Saturday morning.

A friend, Ralph Perdue Jr., told me his daughter was playing and as a good buddy, I showed up to try and take some pictures.

I messed up the time and showed up early, but that’s okay. I came back, talked to a few friends and watched the little ones arrive. On one end, the older kids played while on the other end, the REALLY little ones played on a court with lower rims than normal.

Baskets were few and far between, about what you would expect from children ranging in grades from kindergarten to third grade.

The teams sported t-shirts proudly proclaiming they were the Lady Lakers, Replacements, Lil Stealers and my personal favorite, the Dribblin Divas.

The talent level varied among the players, as did the size. There were some tall kids, short ones and a bunch in between. Some of the players wanted the ball and didn’t mind the contact while others preferred standing around and watching the action, running to the other end of the court when their coaches or parents told them to go that way.

I sat on one end and watched the battle between the Lady Lakers (yes, all girls) play the Replacements.

The Replacements took an early lead and despite a rally by the Lady Lakers, held on for the win.
I must admit, I didn’t catch the final score. Not that it really mattered. The little boys and girls were playing for the right reason: just to have fun.

There were frequent substitutions, and not just during time outs.

Nobody let out a boo, questioned a coaching decision or shouted at the officials.

I liked that. It was basketball the way it should be played. They had fun. Basketball is a game, after all, designed for physical fitness and for the kids to have fun.

None of the players will worry one bit about the loss. The fans and parents won’t retreat to a forum and question the sanity of coaches or officials or discuss strategy that might have made a difference in the outcome.

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