A couple of years ago my son’s basketball team were a bunch of beginners. If you have not seen what happens to a beginner basketball team when they enter a competition against other more experienced teams I can tell you that it is not pretty. These poor kids got smashed. Week in… week out… they got smashed. Oppositions showed no mercy. I didn’t mind the kids getting murdered so much. That is often part of the process of learning the game. One thing did bother me. Against better teams, when it looked like the score was going to blow out, opposition players sometimes acted in ways that was not only disrespectful but downright rude to the kids they were smashing. Excessive alley-oop passing, excessive dribbling behind the back, unnecessary behind the back passing, dunk put-backs abounded and this kind of show-pony crap was usually backed up with giggles and guffaws at the opposition’s inability to stop the slaughter. Just when the beaten kids were hanging their heads in humiliation the superior team would then decide to put their ultimate humiliation into action. The next shooting foul where the winning team were sent to the free throw line the shooter would either take the free throws with his eyes closed… or with his back turned to the basket (and throw the ball over his head)… or shoot with his non favored hand… or attempt the free throw with a hook shot. After the unsuccessful shot the winning team would all laugh uproariously at the wit and sense of humor of their colleague.
Its not funny. Humiliating people is never funny. Showing your enemy that you don’t even have to try to play seriously in order to wipe them off the court is seriously uncool.
Years down the track my son’s team are now pretty good. They are not the best team in their league but they are easily able to beat up on the new beginner teams that come into the competition. The other night I went along to one of their games and it was against one of those less experienced teams. Never guess what happened. There were the behind the back passes, dunk put-backs, alley-oops all on show. At first I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I figured, after all, these are legitimate plays and the guys have a right to practice some of these showier skills. But then I noticed the giggling and smirking going on. There were private jokes, nods and winks between the players in my sons team and the referees. There was unnecessary banter and joking going on between the score bench and my son’s team. Every unchallenged fast break layup was greeting with squeals of delight and unnecessary high-fives among the players. It just felt creepy!
Just to add insult to injury, the team’s best player, when fouled driving for a lay up, attempted two free throws… one with his eyes closed and one with his left hand. One of the referees and the score bench roared with laughter at the great joke… at the expense of the humiliated opposition.
It seems that my son’s team have very short memories.