Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pearls Before Swine?

Old Hoop
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
When the new basketball hardware (consisting of hoops and backboards) was installed at the St. Barbara’s Church parking lot in my home town earlier this spring, I was amused, thinking to myself that suddenly there was another location to shoot baskets. I was especially interested in this new development because I knew putting up the baskets wasn’t required, necessary or expected of the church. Simply put, it was a gesture of good will extended by the church to anyone in the community who liked to play the game.

Unfortunately it wasn’t long after the installation of this hardware that some of Powell, Wyoming’s finest delinquents spoiled the new courts for everyone when they started hanging from the rims with their lame attempts at slam dunking the ball, leading to the destruction of the south basket. A couple weeks later, the same fate came to the north basket. It wasn’t enough for these punks to destroy one rim, they had to wreck both. And do you suppose any of them were considerate enough to thank the church for their short-lived escapades in their pathetic display of amateur slam dunking—let alone offer to reimburse the church for the damage? Get real. Sadly, no one does that today.

So, what were those fools at St. Barbara’s thinking? How dare they install sub-par basketball hoops that can’t support the weight of a rotund 5’7”, 250-pound teenager who probably had to jump from the back of his friend’s pickup truck to “dunk and hang.” The good folks at St. Barbara’s just don’t understand that it’s not good enough to only install a basketball hoop that is regulation height—if it can’t support the full thunder and weight of Shaq himself, don’t bother! Further, I’m doubtful that the rims would still be intact if the church had pasted “No Dunking” signs on the backboards—talk about an invitation to tear them down.

So my question is this: When did basketball rims become monkey bars?

Blame it on the NBA. Dunking the ball has become the ultimate shot. There’s nothing more in-your-face and insulting than jamming the ball down your opponents throat... ah, I mean hoop. It’s so God-damn American just like George W. Bush’s, “Bring it on.”

We used to say, “Baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet” when speaking about those things that are American. Clearly this needs to be updated to something like, “Slam Dunk, Bud Lite, and ATVs.”

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon (since I’m nearly 50-years-old), when we played basketball in my youth (pick-up or organized), it was a game of finesse. Every now and then, in a short, comedic outburst we would start playing the game the way it’s played today—only we weren’t prophesying, we simply called it “jungle ball.” After such antics, we quickly went back to playing the game properly. We never encountered bent or damaged rims, only an occasional rim without a net.

Don’t get me wrong, the slam dunk wasn’t alien to us. We knew about it thanks to Wilt Chamberlain, but Wilt didn’t hang from the rim following a “stuff” and besides, none of us were that tall or could jump that high, but we certainly had enough class to offer repair expenses for anything we broke.

I can only think of one way to bring the slam dunk and its self-centered, look-at-me attitude back down to earth in an effort to restore the integrity of basketball... It’s time to raise the rims to eleven feet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Or wire the rim with a bunch of electricity to zap the goof balls each time they touch it. Sheese - the least the goof balls could do is volunteer to repair the stuff they broke.