Monday, February 9, 2015

Church Ball

Three years ago the term "church ball", for me, meant a bunch of middle aged L.D.S. men pretending they were good at basketball back in high school and trying their hardest not to swear at each other on the court.  In Alabama, however, church ball is a big deal.  The Baptist's and Methodist's sponsor different age groups.  There are t-shirts and refs.  Imagine if Jr. Jazz. (Utah's youth basketball program) were run by the LDS church all with volunteers.   It makes me tired just thinking about it.  

They start with a prayer and a short sermon every game.  Each church has a beautiful facility complete with a weight room, double court, elevated running track, and even racquetball courts.  I joked with Dean that I wish I could be baptist during the week to take advantage of their facilities...

We had two games every Friday night.  Alan's game, which usually ended up looking more like a rugby match, the most common cry from the bleachers being, "dribble!" They have no rules for these beginners.  Pretty much anything goes and it can be hilariously frustrating to watch.   Alan got the hang of it pretty quick and spends most afternoons in our own driveway perfecting his shot.  He had two baskets in his final game and a bunch of passes and assists.

Mid shot.  He was SO proud of himself and wanted to stay outside and shoot in the driveway
even though we got home at 9:00 pm

Ben's games are a little more civilized.  All I can say is I would NOT want to be a referee for this age group.  It moves so fast and they all travel and double dribble.  Of all the sports they've played, basketball seems to be the most complicated.  Soccer and baseball are pretty straight forward, but basketball?  Dean was trying to explain to Ben when it was ok to touch someone and when it wasn't, and how to be aggressive without fouling, and that sometimes it's ok to foul... In the end he just ended up promising both boys ice-cream if they played hard and had fun, and a small Lego if they made a basket.

I was biting my nails during this last game.  Ben hadn't scored in a game yet.  He's one of the taller ones so he's under the basket most of the time.  He gets a lot of rebounds, but not many chances to shoot.  It was a nail biter.  At the half they were down 13-2.  They rallied and finally with the score 13-15, Ben rebounded and put the ball right back up to tie it at 15-15.  The coaches even high-fived us, they were so thrilled. (I think Ben had informed them of the Lego deal.)  The end score was 17-17, thankfully with no overtime.

Our dear neighbor, Mr. Richard.  He was the referee for two of Ben's games.

Another trophy for his shelf. I swear, he'd do just about anything to get one.  It's on to baseball now.  I only hope they can experience as much success with a bat as they were able to see on the court.

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