Monday, January 19, 2009

The Audacity of Hoop

I stole that title from an interesting article in Sports Illustrated about how basketball, particularly pick-up ball, both shaped and revealed Obama's character, and how it played a role in his career. In case you haven't read or seen enough about "Barry O'Bomber", and the hype around his inaugural will make the Super Bowl hype seem subdued, it's worth checking out.

I found the article interesting because I feel it is such a shame that kids today do not get together in their neighborhoods and play unsupervised sports. Thinking back on my own childhood, the lessons learned from that experience have been extremely valuable in life. When nine kids of various ages and skills show up to play football, it requires creative problem solving and negotiating skills to put together 2 teams of almost equal talent, so no one quits, and set up the rules. And it requires character on everyone's part to play fair. And, you have to make up your own plays. Those are a lot of valuable things we learned.

Kids today only play sports on a nice lined field with refs to keep the game fair and coaches to tell them what to do. Other than actually playing the game, what are they learning? Unfortunately, their parents are so paranoid about the 1 in 1 billion chance their kid is abducted, that they won't let kids go out and play. I assume this is why my students can't think for themselves.

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