Coach, I just want to hoop

Dollar Zhu, Editor-in-Chief

Defend. Rebound. Fast break.

I give it all I’ve got in the counterattack, sprinting to the other side of the court. When I stop at the corner on the edge of the three-point line, I call for the pass. I am wide open. The defenders seem to be on the other side of the world, and the rim looks as vast as the ocean. I rise for the shot. The orange ball flies toward the basket, but before it touches the rim, it falls short and hits the ground. Air ball.

This shot alone is enough to stop me from making the team. No, not any NBA team, rather the second level MacDuffie basketball team—the team that used to be called JV. When coach calls me over and tells me that my physicality and skills aren’t yet at the level of competition, I know my season is already over.

I am not a fully-dedicated basketball player. I don’t want to play college basketball, never mind join the NBA. It’s just a pastime, something I can lose myself in and have fun with. I like the swish sound the net makes and the thrill I feel draining shots. I feel disappointed not only because I’ve failed to make the team, but also that I will not be able to play basketball this winter. The sad faces I see in the locker room after tryouts tell me I’m not alone.

Unfortunately, our school’s basketball program has gotten more competitive in the past few years: two years ago, the team I was trying for was still called JV, last year it was V2, and this year it became Varsity. In fact, great players were recruited and sent down from the prep team to play Varsity. Sure, it means that we will have more talented basketball players in our school, and that the more competitive teams will allow them to become better players. But it also means that players like me will lose the opportunity to play. We cannot play for the thirds team anymore because it’s only for sixth through ninth grade. It gets worse when, with limited gym space and busy practices combined with game schedules, the open gym hours get reduced. We will have little time to continue doing what we like to do, and we crave more.

I know that the athletic department is trying to offer an intramural league, but the details regarding about chaperoning and scheduling are still to be determined. This league would give us the opportunity we need to play basketball, and I hope it can become a reality.

Coach, we just want to hoop.