All are involved as REC Basketball returns

If you came fifteen minutes before seven in the field house on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 17, you would have had a front row seat to the warm-up of six teams. Some had formed lay-up lines, some stood in center waiting for the coach to finish encouragement, and some shot around wherever their footing finds them.

With the tipoff at 7 o’clock, last Tuesday marked the commencement of this season of freshman-sophomore REC basketball, a diversely-skilled league of basketball players open to all, from beginners to seasoned veterans. It is an atmosphere, league-members say, that cannot be found in any other organization.

“I didn’t even bother to try out for the Staples team,” said Sam Greenberg ’18, a member of the UConn team, and a six-year veteran of the Westport Parks and Rec Basketball program. “I mean all my friends are here anyways and…”

Out of the blue, another blue entered. His teammate, Oliver Harary ’18, couldn’t resist finishing the interview.

“He’d rather have more fun!” he called over as the two teammates shared a laugh.

Even the parents watching can sense that enjoyment. Former Board of Education Chairwoman Elaine Whitney was not simply spectating on the student body. Her son, Matthew Garber ’18, lovingly described as the “one in the orange shorts,” is a player too.

“For many kids, this isn’t their speciality. But it’s still really fun for them,” she said, cutting off the interview to head off and man the scoreboard.

But, as many players say, this does not make the games any less competitive.

“I’m in the Facebook group, and people have just been trash talking each other all the time. It’s really intense,” Benji Malowitz ’18 said.

According to freshman-sophomore league coach Jeff Hodge, the game has really become about the players. As Hodge said in courtside interview, the students do not have any practices leading up the games and, as of this year, each team is only allowed one coach. However, Hodge believes the distancing of the coach from the players is ultimately beneficial.

“I can’t put my footprint on the team anymore. It’s all up to them at this point,” Hodge said, smiling on his team’s self-formed lay-up lines.

The freshman-sophomore Rec Basketball season will continue based on its semi-frequent Tuesday night schedule, starting at seven o’clock, with the exception of during school-district mandated breaks or in cases of hazardous weather. The field houses shall remain rampant with games until the March Madness tournament in approximately three months time.

Information for game times and other aspects of the Westport Basketball Association may be found here.