We Weren’t the Champions

In grade 7 we had our very first basketball team. A bunch of adults decided that it would be a good idea to get all the grade 7 basketball teams from surrounding schools to compete in a tournament.

As an exhibition game one of the schools came to our turf for a game. We were confident going into the game. They smoked us 48 to 8. At that age, a good indication on who will win the game is the team with the most guys who have hit puberty. When it comes to school sports, having as many people as possible who failed grade 1 is an advantage because being a year older they’re more likely to have hit puberty before everyone else. Puberty is basically a process of inducing anabolic steroids. It’s the difference between a man and a beast.

With our hopes crushed our coaches seemed confident that we would come in at least 2nd to last place in the tournament. We wanted to believe it because we didn’t want to be the shittiest team. If you know you’re going to be the shittiest team then you might as well not show up and give the honours to someone else. Heck, you’re better off going to watch and laugh at whoever comes in last. Looking back, it was a fairly irrational hope that we weren’t the worst. To believe that we weren’t would mean there would have to be a team out there who could score less than 8 points. For you non-basketball fans out there, a basket is worth 2 points which makes 8 points seem even less impressive.

There were 6 teams in the tournament and 4 of them smoked us by a wide margin. Our last game was against that team we were supposed to beat. We lost. Any plans to join the high school basketball team next year were diminished. It was just going to be comprised of the best players from each team who crushed us so what would be the point? With my basketball career over, the following year in grade 8 I picked up smoking, hooky and failing 5 out of 8 courses.

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Daily Prompt: Champion

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3 comments on “We Weren’t the Champions

  1. Yet another reason to question competitive sports, but I am in a minority. I have a long history of resisting the notion that “competition is good,” yet most people would shout me down on this one.

    That doesn’t mean I support monopolies, most or which exist because they have crushed diversity. Diversity doesn’t have to be competitive, and those who are bad at basketball may be excellent in other endeavors that also enrich education, like art, music, gardening, or animal husbandry. In themselves, none of these is competitive and all contribute in a positive way to society at large (unlike basketball).

    Liked by 1 person

    • MrJohnson says:

      That probably is a minority view but I think it’s very rare for people to question competitive sports in school. Everyone just sees it as part of the culture and entertainment. Grade school is mostly just training for the “real world.” I suppose one look sat competitive sports as a way to instill confidence and teamwork which is supposed to be an important part of what is considered a successful career. Many parents consider putting their kids into sports as almost a requirement that they will go into debt just to do it.

      The problem with sports in school is that it’s held way above every other extracurricular activity which makes doing anything else considered not cool. I too would like to see more endorsement for non-athletic programs. If there was back when I was in school I probably still wouldn’t have been interested. I was too concerned with trying to be cool.

      College sports in America is so huge though that it has to get first priority in high school. No one is stopping that train.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right, of course. And there are so many other trains hitched to the competitive mindset that I don’t even try. It does occur to me that it can erode fair play, as so many people want to be on the “winning” team, no matter what the cost. At least speaking up gets some people thinking that maybe cooperation in a shared endeavor (such as musicians in a concert) hurts no one and everyone gets to do his/her best.

        Liked by 1 person

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