a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
b. A particular form of this activity.
2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
3. An active pastime; recreation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank You, Basketball

Well, it's been a while since we've explored the all-important topic of what constitutes a sport. I'm not going to pretend that anyone reads this outside my family, so you know that I've returned from Ireland to America. I've been here through about 2.5 sports seasons: baseball, football and basketball.

I've missed basketball. I didn't even know how much until I got to see it again. I don't even have a decent team to follow, but follow I will. I'm an IU alum, and they're...uh, well, still re-building. But I'm still a fan. And the Pacers? Even with a losing record, I still really like that team and am hopeful of their potential. Maybe I would be more jaded without my perspective-checking absence for the last 5 years. Make no mistake, basketball is a sport.

I know this is master of the obvious. But, since we explore sports, or um, activities and explore why they may or may not be classified as sports, I want to take this time to celebrate one that we will not question. Basketball, where 5 per team run, stop, pass throw and aim for 20-30 minute halves to score. Non-stop action, fierce athleticism, skill, speed, has it all. Basketball is one of those sports where the players make it look easy; they spin, pass and shoot with fluid motion that most couldn't hope to replicate.

Thank you, basketball. I've missed you. My brief, fleeting moments of basketball viewing overseas involved an attempt to watch Olympic basketball during the 2008 Beijing games. The host country were playing the US in a much-touted Yao Ming vs. the newly reinvigorated Dream Team on his home turf. I was watching via the BBC. I was delighted just to be catching some of the action, despite the lopsided results so far. And then came half-time..... "And now to our documentary on otters..." Seriously. The BBC preempted the remainder of the game for documentary on otters. I'm still seething.