Friday, May 22, 2009


Basketball: Amazing game played across countless courts across America
Soccer: Amazing game played across countless fields all over the world

Both utilize agility, footwork, hand-eye coordination, teamwork and skill

...yet when you take a group of soccer players and try to teach them basketball, disastorous (sometimes humorous) results take place.

I've been playing basketball after school for about three weeks now, and every day I usually have a following of about 7-9 kids, which usually balloons to 15 by the time the game is over. Most of these kids are devoted followers of the worldwide religion known as "FUTBOL!!!", but they are eager to try there hand at basketball...yet that can't quite seem to grasp a new sport without holding onto the old one.

Example #1) The idea of defense. 8 kids swarm for the ball, throwing everything from elbows to ankles into the fray. Yet, as soon as the ball is free from this scrum of commotion, they all give up, letting the lone warrior standing quard take on 4 or 5 people coming at him full speed.

Example #2) Breaks. I know this is not a fluke, or happenstance due to one of two people. This happpens EVERY game. Someone scores a basket, or steals the ball, and whoever the point guard or "play maker" as it is known over here, will just crouch down when he doesn't have the ball anymore. Literally. No defense, or help your team out; just taking a breather at mid-court.

Example #3) Celebrations. Unlike the single-digit world of soccer, basketball likes its scores to be in the teens, twenties or dare I say triple digit range. So scoring a basket can be somewhat of a nonevent due to the regularity with which it occurs. Not so. Every basket either team scores results in a full team celebration, at which point the other team runs past and scores a basket, and the celebrations begin again, only to usher in another un-guarded attack. I've been slowly working on the high five and other such celebrations which can keep the momentum of the game going.

Example #4) Faking. I've seen my share of divers in the premiership or Seria A, and it has clearly polluted the youth of Bulgaria. One kid dribbled, then accidently dribbled on his foot, only to curl into a ball, yelling for a foul...didn't really understand all that was happening (and 3 seconds later he took the ball the entire length of the court).

Example #5) The one kid who starts dribbling the ball with his feet,...well, I guess you get the idea by now.

But no matter how the game is played or what influences they carry to the court, its been a blast playing. This fall I am supposedly going to be in charge of an actual team at the high school. So, when that day comes, I got hoop dreams,...and I got 'em bad.

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