A New DiRECtion: REC Basketball Makes A Fast Break To Popularity

Ian Philips ’10
A&E Editor

Every Monday morning, Charlie Reach ’10 wakes up with only one question on his mind: “Is it Thursday yet?”

This is the same question asked by many Staples students who participate in Recreational Basketball. In fact, the Westport Basketball Association has basketball leagues available for boys as early as the third grade. In recent years however, “Rec” has seen a large increase in popularity among Staples students.

According to Karen Puskas, Director League President, Rec started in 2002 with just grades 9 and 10 and had four teams of about 38 boys. Now, Rec includes grades 9-12 and has about 240 players in about 12 teams.

The league is organized by Westport Parks & Recreation from Dec. 9 through March 5. On Tuesday nights, freshman and sophomore teams compete while Thursday nights host juniors and seniors.

“It has developed from a friendly community-wide activity into a way of life,” Harry Rappaport ’10 said, “There’s basketball and then there’s rec basketball.”

Rec has become so big that it’s even beginning to overshadow Staples’ own basketball team, participants said. According to Sam Zorfas ’10, a former Staples basketball player and current Rec athlete, only one of the 12 freshman athletes still remains on the Varsity team.

Current Staples Basketball Coach Colin Devine declined to comment.

There are many reasons for the influx of people who have signed up for Rec. Most students enjoy Rec for offering a more laidback level of commitment.

“I realized I could play this high level of competitiveness without making a huge committment,” Casey Colasurdo ’10 said.

Others enjoy a feeling of personal freedom that most competitive sports might not offer.

“The coaches aren’t exactly in charge when it comes down to it. The player that wants to play, makes the play,” Colasurdo said.

Rob Gau ’11 co-manages his team with Robby Herman ’11. Together, they make lineups and organize the team.

“Being a manager allows me to have a team with my friends on it, good talent, and players that have good team chemistry,” Gau said.

While Rec has created a fun, competitive spirit, players seem to enjoy that feeling of choice most. So much so, that being obligated to a Rec team doesn’t seem like a problem to them.

“Some want to win it all, some do it for fun. It depends on what kind of a player you are,” Reach said.

Some teams might even go as far as coordinating outfits, wearing the same socks or sweatbands. And some even have a prayer session before each game.

All of this has even managed to inspire a movie. Rec player Michael Friedson ’10 is making what he describes as a “Recumentary.” It will include footage of team play as well as footage from the sidelines and “countless” interviews.

The boys who play Rec might not be ready for the NBA, they say there are other attractions.

“Show me a boy who plays for a high school or AAU team, or who chooses to “ball” in any other league outside of Rec, and I’ll show you 115 men with more heart, more intensity, and more talent,” Friedson said.