“Thanks for making basketball fun again.”a grim immigration agent at the Canada-US Border when Steph Curry went through after playing in Toronto, as reported in a slightly fawning, but stellar, article in this week’s Sports Illustrated.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to Grandson Aggie’s basketball game (well, one of his games). I’ve read that several people have complained that the Warriors are teaching young players bad habits, I don’t think so. To me it seems like Auggie and his friends are running up and down the court, passing back and forth, shooting when they are close to the basket – and the basket is much further away when you are under four feet tall – and having fun. Being kids, they probably didn’t have to learn to have fun by watching basketball on TV, but they might have, because if the Warriors exude anything, it is Having Fun.
I know exactly how that immigration fella, in the quote at the top, felt. The Warriors are on a terrific roll and almost everybody around here is watching; Michele and I sure are. Watching the Warriors is engrossing, nail-biting at times, almost always wildly satisfying, and great fun. Basketball is probably the most athletic mainstream sport anyway, and it can be as graceful as ballet, but it is also a sport that rewards sharing. It turns out that it is fun to watch people having fun sharing.
The Warriors are taking the fun and the sharing to a new place. As the article in Sports Illustrated points out, they are playing with Joy, just the Joy of playing (and winning). There was a time when I looked down on jocks but I am pretty much over that now. I probably started getting over it watching a pitcher in a tight game, in front of a huge crowd, let go of everything but the task at hand. That ability to concentrate, to stay present, astounds me. Over and over again. With the Warriors, and Steph Curry in particular, it is the ability to be present in Chaos.
To be present in Chaos and pass the ball to somebody with a better chance at a basket even if that person is behind you, is a lesson that the Warriors teach every game. That not bogarting the ball, that not shooting yourself if somebody has a better shot, is a great lesson to be teaching young players. Having fun is an even better lesson, even if it is not needed.
(The YouTube below is only three minutes, check it out to see what fun, exuberant fun!, look like. BTW, Curry is number 30.)