Sunday, February 15, 2009

Girls' basketball, indoors and out

The weather report from Pittsburgh this week has included flurries, rain, sun, mud, and frost. The path from our house to the community center is nearly impassable with mud, and the ice patches are gone. Frankly, I miss the snow, though I'm not sure the girls do, because with it melting, the driveway is clear for dribbling.

The highlight of the week is definitely basketball. Much as I believe in free play, I often see that a particular sport is what draws the kids outside in the first place. This week, nearly every time we went outside to play, a basketball was motivating the action.
Emily's team features a full handful of very skilled girls and two mom-coaches who clearly love the game. Her lack of experience shows compared to many, but she is learning and motivated. Hazel participated in clinics run by the high school girls' team, and ended her season recently with 2 halftime dribbling shows by the Lil' Hoopers. I credit this clinic with convincing Hazel that basketball is centered on dribbling skills, because so far she can't hit the bottom of the net, much less the hoop. Nonetheless, Hazel loves her basketball, and she's gotten noticed for her ferocious drive to dribble around the court during Emily's practices and games.

The most exciting revolution about this for me is that for my daughters, basketball is a girls' sport. They have been to high school games, and a college game, and played their own games, but the only games they've witnessed have been played by women and girls, dribbling, running, shooting, sweating, scuffling, reaching, and fouling each other in their eagerness to get the ball. At Emily's games, players' brothers wait on the sidelines for their turn to shoot a few hoops after each quarter. In my world in Kentucky, it was the girls who went out at the quarters, in cheerleading outfits with pom-poms instead of balls. But here and now, when the ref blows the whistle, it is the girls who run out on the court for the real action.

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