Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Playing with Bricks...

Okay...not the red, square kind...

We're talking basketballs people.

Tonight I had some fun watching my husband play good old church basketball...

As I watched him and the rest of our Elder's Quorum play, I couldn't help but notice how different church basketball has become from what I grew up watching when my dad played it back in the day.

It was so funny to me that my husband's team was kicking some patooty, but they didn't care if they won or lost, they were just out for a good time. The other team seemed to care a little more about winning. One team member in particular kind of reminded me why the church did away with the old basketball system in the first place...he was so upset, and mad that his team was losing. I have to wonder if it was made worse by the fact that you could obviously tell that my husbands team couldn't care less what what on the score board...

I guess I need to tell a story so that you can appreciate how different the game has become. Tonight, the Elders played two halves of the game at 20 minutes a piece with a 5 minute half time. They would sub out at 5 minute intervals to make sure everyone got some playtime...

and now...Ahhh...time for a Brittany flashback....are ya'll ready for this?

Back in the day...

Church basketball was HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!

Wrap your mind around this... the Elders Quorum of each ward would organize their team. They actually had team practice once a week, and then they would play one game a week. Each team had official team colors that they chose, and a team name. Each Elder's Quorum in the stake had to pick a person to referee for their team. That's right, they had ref's...tonight my husband's team, along with the other team called their own fouls....

These referees knew the rules of the game, and how to ref...and the men played by the REAL basketball rules...we're talking actually TAKING foul shots..we're talking 4 twelve minute quarters with a 20 minute halftime...

And the players were HARD CORE...

They even announced the starting line up over the mic and everyone cheered as they ran through a tunnel of people...just like in College or the NBA...

My dad actually blew out his knee at a church ball game...it ended his church ball career...that was a sad day...I witnessed my first broken nose at a church ball game...Hyperextended elbows, fingers, etc. were common place, fists could actually fly at a church basketball game... the men played hard and the crowds cheered even harder!

We always came to the games and cheered my dad and his team on to glory...wearing team colors...some people even painted their faces.

The men played through a bracket, much like they do for March Madness...you basically had to beat every other team in your stake to make it to citywide finals and play all the teams that had made it from the other stakes..

My dad's team was super hard core, they practiced twice a week..and they were good...

Atleast they were good in my childhood brain...

I can still remember Earl Sorensen in his short shorts, with his basketball sweatband around his head yelling "BRICK" every time someone from another team tried to make a shot...I remember my dad wrestling people for the ball...

I remember the crowds! Man, there were always wives and children shouting, hooting, and cheering their teams on to glory.

My older sister and I were the "unofficial" cheerleaders for the 32nd Ward Kings of Zion....We were super cool. I remember sitting on the stage with Amber making up cheers and screaming BRICK when the other team would try to make foul shots (yes, we were THOSE kids...)

It really is so different now. Tonight, I was the only wife there cheering my husband on to glory...in fact, I was the only person there that wasn't playing PERIOD...I ended up being the score keeper, so I felt a little stifled. I wanted to cheer, hoot, and holler for my husband and my new Kings of the 3rd ward, but alas, I didn't feel it would make the other team feel all that great knowing that their score keeper was cheering for the other side..

There were two little girls from my ward there. They had come to "watch" their dads...but decided it was much more fun to pretend they were in a jungle.(Enter cute moment of the day...little Bronte came up to me and said. "Hello Sister Nielson, we are playing like we're in a jungle...isn't that neat?!" and from the back of the seating area I hear Chloe yelling, "SISTER NIELSON!!!!!!!! YAY!" she then went back to making lion sounds- I'm assuming it was a lion, but I can't be completely sure) You could hear random animal sounds coming from the back of the seating area every once in a while, it did give me a giggle every now and again and cause me to ruminate on the wonders of a child's imagination...but that is for another blog post.

The room was so empty...I understand why the church ended the old system of doing things. They worried that it was getting too competitive and it was becoming an insurance liability...I get it...I understand you don't want to exactly foster competitive natures and bad blood between the wards of your stakes...but there was another element to church basketball that has been lost...

We've lost the family involvement. No one comes to cheer because the men have begun to see it as an extra activity to give them some exercise, a chance to get out of the house and socialize with their ward brothers...but it could be so much more than that...it used to be so much more than that.

Even if he couldn't land a shot in the game, my dad was a BIG hero to me every time I watched him run onto the court. I loved going to games and being a part of the excitement, and it was a good thing for our family I think...It was good because our dad had his moment to be a hero to all of us, and we were all working together for a common cause...to cheer and support our dad in something he did outside the home for himself...to cheer and support our ward family. Because of church basketball, I knew the name of EVERY Elder's Quorum member in my ward, because of church basketball I knew that my Bishop was a normal guy who just happened to have a huge responsibility, because of church basketball I was able to witness first hand the importance of teamwork and how much fun it could be when your ward worked together for a common cause.

In the end, I guess the fraternal socialization is still going on. The bretheren of the ward still get a chance to socialize and exercise, which I suppose was the main intent of the church in the first place when they started organizing basketball leagues.

I suppose change is inevitable. But its fun to look back and think about how things used to be "way back when..."

Hugs and loves until March Madness...LOL

2 comments:

ekharris said...

I remember how crazy church ball was when I was in junior high! My best friend's brother fell and broke his arm, bone right through the skin, and blood everywhere! They had to pinch his vein shut! It was the talk of Ririe for years to come! ;)

Mommy, RN said...

Smile. I never knew you were so into basketball! :) You know, I don't think our stake even HAS basketball teams or elders that get together to play. Hmmm... I wonder what would have happened if the pioneers started suing each other and the church when they sprained their ankles dancing after long days of walking. So sad people can influence change like that!