The Fight in the Paint

Tis’ the season, Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas lights aren’t the only thing indicating the beginning of a new season. Pro teams are starting to have their first games of the season, The San Antonio Spurs were just awarded their championship rings at their first game of the season against the Dallas Mavericks. You can feel the competition at every level, from high school to College to the NBA. That same feeling sits on the courts of the men’s basketball team.

This is my second week of practice with the men’s team and the ambition is wild. The rhythm is fast paced as always.Run. Arms up! Defend.Block.Shoot. But today they were jiving to a different tune.

You never notice how much running goes into basketball. Up and down the court. I’d say this is one of the most vital aspects of the hustle, being able to keep up. Don’t lose the ball when you’re being defended. Dont fall behind their pace, keep up , or  you’ll lose. You’ll lose your balance, sometimes, you might even lose your rhythm. There is a rhythm to everything.

There is a pace. The game has a heartbeat.

The fight in the paint, right under the hoop, it reeked of passion. Not literal paint of course, but close enough, splattered everywhere like an aggressive painter passionate about his work. Seeing these men play, you could tell they were drenched with desperation.To get the ball in the hoop. That was the only objective, but so much work had to go into it, it’s the finish. Even when you have more than one defender on you, you have to take it all the way. When fighting for the ball there is always a chance the players end up on the floor, and even still, after they have been knocked over they are still fighting for the ball. It all comes down to who has more fight in them. Some points are easy three’s, or free throws, the ones made from right under the hoop, with defenders on you like vultures, those are the difficult ones.

As I sat there and watched them fight so hard for the ball, I started to wonder: what does it take? They make so many attempts to get the ball in the hoop, it’s frustrating just watching, imagine actually playing. Three to four men in the paint surrounding you, trying their hardest to knock the ball away, every time you try to score it. It almost seemed like being surrounded by so many men, was like being underwater, and every time you came up for air they just dunked your head right back underwater, forcing you to start all over again. So what makes you finish and finally get the ball in? Its athleticism, its the determination inside of you, its so much more than we, the audience know.