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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    To all the Rec Center Kobes:

    “”Competition, which is the instinct of selfishness, is another word for dissipation of energy, while combination is the secret of efficient production.”” – Edward Bellamy

    A horrific sight ensued before my eyes. I grimaced, turned my head and waited for the impending doom. What was this guy thinking? There was no camera around. There were no reporters. As far as I could tell, “”SportsCenter”” was not postponing their nightly Top 10 in hopes of the addition of one last highlight from a historic night at the Student Recreation Center. Yet here he was, headband tilted at just the right angle, legs flailing, hand cocked back, ready to heave a heroic game-winner over two guys 21 feet back from the hoop.

    Blocked shot. Ball snatched. Breakaway lay-up. Game over.

    The Rec Center has evolved over many years into what we know and love today by students outposing, outpumping and outdoing each other in a testament to the spirit of competition, cementing its position as one of the most loved and hated establishments on campus.

    But one place in this bastion of all things combative exalts this type of behavior more than any other: the hallowed wood of the three basketball courts. Where high school hoop dreams are re-lived. Where legends of state playoffs rekindle their glory. Where the Rec Center Kobes gather to see who can pull off the closest thing to last night’s turnaround, no look, behind the back, somersaulting, cart-wheeling game-winner against the cross-town Clippers.

    Unfortunately, most of these turnaround jump shots have not the faintest resemblance to that of a Kobe Bryant. Crossover dribbles are a mockery to the hours that Allen Iverson puts into his craft. No matter what is envisioned, the no-look passes are at best a pitiful hope at imitation of Jason Kidd.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t proclaim to be any sort of basketball phenom. To the contrary, I never played high school ball. I play left-handed and won’t dribble with my right hand because I can’t. I am not the biggest person you’ll ever meet. In fact, I’m probably one of the skinniest, and a good forearm might cause internal bleeding.

    But I am still a competitive person, as are the majority of people running the court in my time there. For many people, the goal is to score as many points for oneself as possible, with complete disregard for actually winning any game. This competitive streak, which is often borne of good intentions, is generally counterproductive. In the race to see who is the next great Rec Center superstar, it seems many would rather say that they lead their losing team than accomplish the point of the game, win and stay to play another game.

    Unfortunately, we are not playing for “”glory.”” There are no NBA talent scouts around to assess the future professional status of players, negating the reasons to jack up shots when there are wide-open people on one’s team. And while Bellamy might have been discussing social status and economic theory in saying that combination (teamwork) is more efficient than selfishness, it seems like a rather seamless juxtaposition to the world of Rec Center basketball, given a little imagination.

    And that’s why this isn’t in the sports section: I’m not writing to the real athletes, but those average students aspiring at the Rec Center.

    Considering the dearth of NBA salary or talent from pick-up basketball, I would like to lay out a couple of simple rules for my Rec Center hoops brethren:

    1. Wait at least an hour before playing basketball after watching ESPN. Just think of it like that “”wait an hour between food and swimming pool”” rule.

    2. Take a look at your ankles. If they don’t have springs in them, chances are you don’t have the hang-time of Michael Jordan, and you shouldn’t be trying his acrobatics in order to score. Remember his adage, “”million-dollar move, 10 cent finish.”” Two points is two points.

    3. Pass the ball.

    To all of the Rec Center Kobes out there, and I know I speak for countless voiceless others when I say this: Please hesitate to prove your worthiness of a walk-on spot on the Arizona squad, and think before you chuck.

    Even Kobe would find it appalling that selfishness pre-empts teamwork at such a lowly skill level. Maybe.

    Shurid Sen is a senior majoring in political science. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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