Of ignorance and ball and basket

What does basketball look like to those absolutely innocent of its rules, conduct, and traditions?



By Ashley Mussbacher and Katie Stobbart (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: November 20, 2013

Editor’s Note: This week we sent two of our most intrepid reporters to Friday’s basketball games between our own UFV Cascades and the Mount Royal Cougars. Think of it as just like our usual coverage, except that while both Ashley and Katie are wonderful people, they know absolutely nothing about basketball.

What does basketball look like to those absolutely innocent of its rules, conduct, and traditions? Well, we’re about to find out. (Some parenthetical definitions have been added for clarification).

Game On!

After a confusing interaction with the man guarding the door to the gym, Katie and Ashley discovered that students do not, in fact, have to purchase tickets to enter the game, and found seats inside the gym. To their disappointment, no foam fingers were available.

Ashley: We should probably have figured out who the teams were before coming.

Katie:  Well. One is the Cascades.

Ashley: The other shirts say Mount…something. Mountains?

Katie: The Cascades are also mountains. Whoa… UFV has a real announcer? Also, apparently athletes (and spectators) don’t sing during the anthem, but they clap afterwards. Who are they clapping for? The radio?

Ashley: This may be offensive, but I didn’t know short people could play basketball.

Katie: Go stand next to one of those “short people.” We’re both probably shorter than all of them. So, first the players are introduced and then they all high-five each other.

Ashley: And we don’t clap for the opposite team because… it would be bad manners?

The game begins with the tip-off. Ashley and Katie watch intently.

Katie: Everyone’s running and shouting all at the same time… how can they tell what they’re saying? Somebody scored… somebody fell over.

Ashley: [loudly] Was that our team that scored? [Other audience members stare.]

Katie: Um. I think so? Oh, yes. The scoreboard says “2 Home.”

Ashley: So home is us, and guest is…

Katie: Yes, because we’re home. Back and forth, back and forth… someone else fell over. A lot of bruising in this sport. And everyone’s got bandages on their fingers and arms and wrists. Those aren’t bracelets …There’s a countdown on the boards – the net boards.

Ashley: Does it count down the whole game, or?

Katie: Only if the game lasts 24 seconds.

Ashley: So, does that buzzer mean time out? Also, I think the green space [the key] is a no-contact zone.

Katie: I don’t know… there’s been a lot of contact going on in there.

Ashley: Does the buzzer mean stop or start or foul? Because it seems to happen with all of those things.

Katie: (Oblivious) Did you see that? She was like a ninja!

Ashley: What happened? I missed it!

Katie: Everyone was running backward across the court, then that girl threw the ball, and that girl caught it while running backward and all of a sudden was running forward and it happened super fast. They just got a goal! A score? A basket. Basketing?

Ashley: Basketed. They basketed.

Katie: So, I think they get two points for that.

Ashley: But the ball only went in once. Don’t tell me it’s worth two baskets.

Katie: I think that’s how it works.

Ashley: Hey, the ref stopped the game! What happened?

Katie: I don’t know. The referees seem to blow the whistle on a whim, and then everyone started cheering and pointing, and I’m like, “what just happened?” I would hate to be a referee… they run back and forth the entire game and don’t even get the satisfaction of basketing.

Ashley: What does that hand signal mean? Did you see that? He just did some weird dance move.

Katie: It’s like they have their own language.

Ashley: Yeah, and when the players hold out their arms to stop the oncoming team, I’m reminded of those hissing dinosaurs from Jurassic Park that poof up when they are trying to be intimidating.

Katie: That other girl just ran into that girl’s stomach. She’s gonna need more bandages.

Ashley: Why do we have a sasquatch mascot?

Katie: Is that what that is? I thought it looked like a really hairy Teletubby.

Ashley: Look! The mascot’s banging those noisy sticks [inflatable noisemakers] against the door. I think he’s trying to get the audience to follow.

Katie: That or he’s trying to knock on the door, because his friend is locked inside. What’s that? Timmy fell down the well? Nobody seems to care.

Ashley: It sounds like drums… [laughs] Drums in the deep!

Katie: Lord of the Hoops!

The second quarter begins.

Katie: By the way, there’s totally contact in the green zone.

Ashley: Is there a reason the green zone is painted a solid colour, instead of just lines?

Katie: Because… it looks nice?

Ashley: When they all line up like that, around the green zone, you know what it reminds me of?

Katie: [joking] The Hunger Games!

Ashley: Actually! It’s like in the beginning of the Games when that mountain of supplies is in the middle—that would be the hoop—and they all stare intently at it until the moment the whistle blows. Then they foul each other.

Katie: I don’t understand why they do this shot whenever there’s a foul—everyone makes this shot. No one misses it. And if they do miss it, they get a second try. Maybe that’s why those are only worth one point? Are they only worth one point?

Ashley: So, if our team gets the foul, is it our team that makes the shot? That would be like rewarding us for the foul, right?

Katie: I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around… Oh, apparently not everyone makes that shot. Jinxed it – my bad. We’re creaming the other team, though. 37-20. That’s almost twice as many points.

Ashley: Where are the Cougars from?

Katie: Your mom’s house. Just kidding – it says on their shirts they’re from Mount Royal.

Ashley: Is there a cap on scores? I feel like there should be a cap, like, at 60.

Katie: I think they just play for two hours and see how many points they get.

Ashley: That was a nice pass. I think I remember from high school that there are three different types of passes you can make. One is like a fast-ball pass, that hurts the hands when you catch it. The second is a bounce pass, and the last is some beautiful curved pass that just lazily arcs.

Katie: I always thought you just threw the ball at people and hoped they would catch it. I didn’t do so well in the basketball part of gym class. I always just kind of jogged along the side and hoped I wouldn’t get a ball in the face… glasses.

Ashley: That’s what I did too, except I would just run back and forth with the team to look like I was actually doing something, and when I got the ball I always passed it to the wrong people.

The third quarter starts.

Katie: Did we switch hoops? Nets. Hoops?

Ashley: Whoa… I think so. That’s confusing. Why would we do that?

Katie: It seems counter-productive to me. What if you score in the wrong one?

Ashley: If they had anyone like me on their team, I’d be throwing it in the same hoop the entire game.

Katie: That’s why we’re up here annoying the audience with our ignorant commentary.

Ashley: Ignorant? It’s enlightening. Although I feel like I am more confused now than I was coming in. How many rules are in basketball in total?

Katie: Too many.

Thus, not knowing all that much more about basketball, Katie and Ashley left the gym at 8:00 p.m. They believe the Cascades won by a score of 77-35, but they could be wrong.

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