Column: 5 tips to avoid looking foolish in IM basketball
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 01:02
If you play intramural basketball at Oregon State — specifically in the men’s “A” league — please read this before your next game. There are some prevalent issues I’ve seen in the past week that you should be aware of before you embarrass yourself on the court.
After a week of scouting the various timeslots, I’ve seen a lot of basketball — some good, some bad and some terrible.
Regardless of the quality of play, the number one thing I’ve come to realize during this time is the students at this school take their IM basketball seriously — which should be a good thing. When the players care about winning, the games should be competitive and fun for everyone involved.
Although the intramural league is all about competition among “NARPs” (Non-Athletic Regular People), it has taken a tragic turn. It has transformed from a league that is meant to be fun into a warzone, chock-full of hyper-competitive former high school athletes who treat what is essentially pickup basketball like it’s the NBA Finals.
This column may come off as me accusing every player of being overly competitive, but it’s just a list of guidelines to make sure no one goes overboard. These are the top five ridiculous trends in IMs everyone should avoid, unless they want to be “that guy.”
1. No shooting sleeves
C’mon people, really? I know we’ve grown up watching T-Mac and Kobe don the shooting and leg sleeve, and it looks really cool on them. Maybe the shooting sleeve would fly in high school, but it’s time to grow up. None of us are going to be shooting crunch-time Js in the Staples Center anytime soon, so let’s leave the unnecessary accessories at home. These are IMs, not March Madness. You don’t look cool, and we all know that sleeve isn’t helping your shooting stroke.
2. Don’t run layup lines before the game
Maybe I’m in the minority here, but running drills before a game like you’re the “Showtime” Lakers is just embarrassing. By all means get warmed up before your game, but stretch on the sideline and get some jumpers in. Don’t try to choreograph a conga-drill layup line like you’re the Globetrotters.
No one is going to be intimidated by your pregame team chemistry, and you’ll come off like you care too much.
Again, you should take the game seriously, but teams shouldn’t be putting more effort into their pregame routines and playbooks than in the classes they’re paying thousands of dollars for.
3. Don’t flop
Flopping is for Matt Bonner or Nick Collison trying to earn a multi-million dollar contract in the NBA. No one wants to see an IM game marred by the team that’s throwing themselves all over the floor like it’s a ballet recital. Play straight up. I get you want to win, but don’t sacrifice your integrity in the process.
That reminds me of another thing: Don’t take charges and don’t full-court press unless it’s the second half of a close game. No one wants to get hurt because you wanted to take that dangerous charge on a fast break in the regular season of a glorified YMCA game, and no one’s going to have fun if they can’t even dribble up the court.
4. Don’t scream at the refs for any reason
There are a couple of things you need to remember here:
First, these refs are your peers, who likely have no refereeing experience in what is the hardest game to officiate on the planet. Second, the world is not going to end if you didn’t get that one call in your IM game.
The refs are a bunch of students who are just trying to make a little spending money by refereeing what’s supposed to be a friendly game. Half of the zebras look like they’re about to turn into Steve Bartman and go into hiding after the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re scared of being physically assaulted by Ron Artest’s reincarnation the way some people react to minor calls.
Leave the officials alone and just play basketball.
5. Don’t play dirty
If you take anything at all from this column, I hope it’s this last point. No one likes the guy doing his best Kevin Garnett impression out there. Leave the elbows and subtle shoves in the back at home.
This past week, I saw at least a half-dozen incidents where fights almost broke out on the court. Don’t start fights with dirty play, and if you get hit with an inadvertent elbow don’t assume it was intentional and retaliate. We’re all just trying to have fun out there, right? Isn’t that why we signed up for IM basketball in the first place?
I love the competitiveness and quality of basketball I’ve seen thus far, but I think the league could be considerably better if we just cut out these five IM atrocities.
Just know, if I play you in a game and you do any of the things I mentioned, I’m probably going to make fun of you.
And I doubt I’ll be the only one.
Andrew Kilstrom, sports reporter