More Than Just a Game

It’s a Thursday night. The gym reeks of sweat while the squeaks of basketball shoes hitting the floor echo throughout the room. No, this isn’t Staples’ basketball. This weekly occurrence has gained notoriety throughout school: the Boys Rec Basketball games.

Rec basketball has been available to Westport kids since kindergarten, but in recent years the chance to play basketball with their peers for 40 minutes has proved to be a major draw for high schoolers, especially boys.

“It’s a lot of fun, with less commitment than being on the Staples team,” said Joe Greenwald ’13, who gave up Staples’ basketball to focus on soccer. Greenwald was also voted MVP by his teammate Quinn Mendelson ’13.

Fun seems to be the universal reason for why boys choose Rec over playing for the Wreckers, because the casual setting allows for a lot of joking around and practices are only one night per week.

Like any other league, there are definitely some stand-out teams in the 2011-2012 Rec season. “Team Sixsmith” coached by Dan Sixmsith, father of Michael Sixmsith ’13, has yet to lose a game in this competitive season.

According to Mendelson, Team Sixsmith is “an array of colored pencils.”When asked why, he simply responded, “don’t worry about it.”Additionally, Mendelson views himself as, “the spiritual leader of the team. I do the dirty work that no one else wants to do, sometimes resulting in technical fouls and/or ejections.”

Although it all sounds like fun and games, Rec basketball is a serious matter for many Staples boys. Each Thursday when they lace up their shoes and slide on their headbands (worn by many players), they play to win.

But sometimes, that whole winning thing doesn’t always work out.

Although his team lost by 21 points, Jack Gibson ’12 said, “it’s not always about the number on the scoreboard. It’s about heart. It’s about swag.”

“Swag” is a fundamental part of the Rec Basketball culture. The attitudes, the style and the determination all combine to make one slightly comical, but very intense, game of basketball.

Another crucial part of the game is the leadership of the parent coaches. Although coaching the team is not a huge time commitment, the fathers (and mothers) who coach their sons are equally as dedicated as the players.

Moshe Aelyon, father of Jonah Aelyon ’12 is an assistant coach to head coach Jeff Warshaw, father of Sammy Warshaw ’12.

“People may say that I have no life because I’m here every Thursday…but it’s really a lot of fun,” Aeylon said.

Rec is much more than a weekly pickup game. Rec basketball is a delicate balance of coaches, players, and fun. Each players walks on the court willing to put themselves on the line, in order to achieve the ultimate goal: a “W.”