I think I have an ulcer. My stress levels are skyrocketing thanks to my daughter’s second-grade basketball team. I thought I’d seen the epitome of midget mayhem when our kids played U4 soccer. But that was only because we hadn’t had anyone play hoops yet. Sweet mercy – it’s madness.
For starters, there are very few rules. A teenage referee calls “out of bounds,” “jump ball” and “man down; need a mommy,” and that’s about it. There are no silly turnovers due to traveling, double dribbling or fouling, and the players are not allowed to steal. The result is 10 little girls (and I do mean little) running up and down a full court at break-neck speed, often in the wrong direction, and only sometimes in control of the ball. The game is literally a survival of the least agile.
This peewee pandemonium also means the winning team is usually the one whose coach knows how to work the system. Last week we played the Purples, whose defense was hard to penetrate. These girls simply swarmed whoever had the ball and suffocated her with outstretched arms. Even if our kid got a shot off, the ball would rebound right back into her face, having hit the human tent that had sprung up around her. There may be no crying in baseball, but in primary school basketball, tears are pretty standard. Luckily, we have a couple of ringers, who despite their small stature, can play some serious ball. We are undefeated, thank you very much!
Listen to me: We are undefeated. As if I’m a member of this team. And that’s my problem. I’m engaging in every game as if it’s my own personal Final Four. I scream constantly and unabashedly. “Block out!” “Defense!” “Shoot it, Maddie!” (To my credit, I’ve kept “Air ball!” under wraps.) And because she’s the first of my kiddos to follow in my footsteps, I haven’t had a chance to temper my enthusiasm for the sport, which is why I’m developing heartburn and high blood pressure.
Sure, it’s just a church league and most of the players are still in car seats, but I can’t help the competitive spirit that overtakes me as I watch the no-stop clock count down each of the four quarters. If we’re not up by 10 or more, I’m close to stroking out. It’s awful. Thank goodness the season is but six weeks. I can’t take the pressure! Go Lil’ Hoopsters, go! Peace out.