Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peewee Basketball: Entertaining Chaos

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peewee Basketball: Entertaining Chaos

Article excerpt

Although this winter's basketball season isn't over, I don't think I'll see another game to top one I witnessed last year, when an enterprising player scored a touchdown against the opposing team.

The moment came fairly early in my son Will's kindergarten basketball clinic when one of his classmates snatched the ball at midcourt, tucked it like a pigskin beneath his tiny arm, and then charged for the goal, waving his other arm in victory once he had crossed the back boundary line.

The other dads and I howled with laughter at our basketball game's budding quarterback, but the school athletic director barely arched his eyebrow. After many seasons of peewee basketball, he had, after all, pretty much seen it all.

Over the course of the next hour, we'd see plenty, too, as our sons listened earnestly to basic tutorials in dribbling and shooting, and then ignored convention to create a basketball game like none I'd ever witnessed.

Much of the clinic was chaos, with 5-year-olds merrily combing the court for the ball as if skipping through an Easter-egg hunt. When one tyke would get his little fingers on the object of desire, a half-dozen other hands would claim the prize, and the boys played tug of war like a litter of kittens batting for the same skein of yarn.

Eventually, a coach would arrive to untangle the players and put the ball back into play, but athletic anarchy remained the morning's theme, with boys running ring-around-the-rosie style after any player fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to angle for a hoop.

At one point, one of the more promising peewee players scored for the opposing team by smuggling the ball - heroically, but in the wrong direction - through a swarm of pint-sized rookies to the other team's net.

The coaches stepped in from time to time to offer some pointers on the game's general rules, but the lessons were thrown out casually, with little hope of strict obedience, as one might direct - or try to direct - a house cat. …

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