Ball Vision and 1 inch

#4 Scola.

On Saturday, I went to a cafe to watch Argentina vs. Germany in the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championships. I tried to pay close attention to how the players positioned themselves on the court and distinguished the different positions. I noticed how they circulated the ball around the whole team, finding the opening for a clean point.

I remember when I began to play basketball it all seemed so random, bodies running around with no specific purpose. But now I see the systems: the screens, the positions, and the styles of each individual player. I can recognize all this because of the knowledge in my brain, and my familiarity with basketball.

Many players have talked about ball vision; a special way of seeing the court. I’m going to give my own personal definition of ball vision: seeing the spaces, the possibilities, as well as seeing the issues, and where things are getting clogged up. Some players are born with naturally clear ball vision, while (for most) it takes many years and many games to blink it into focus. Mine has definitely gotten better, but there are still many details of the game that I’m learning.

“Did you know that in FIBA, if the player’s team has four fouls in the quarter, the team fouled gets possession of the ball?” Oso turned to me.

I lightly shook my head from side to side without unglueing my eyes from the screen. A couple seconds passed before I asked:

“Do you know what the official differences between men’s and women’s basketball?”

Now it was his turn to say nay, while I guessed:

“Well, the ball is smaller in women’s basketball. And I think the net is lower too, no?”

It kinda bugs me that there are differences between the men’s and women’s sports. I know the biology debate is always present, ready to bite me in the behind, but is the 1 inch difference in ball size really necessary? And how about the differences in the way the sport is played? I’ve heard comments about how women’s basketball is boring, because it is slow. I would like to really study how basketball changes, depending on the gender.

“Ah, the complex woman.” was Cate’s remark after tonight’s practise. We spent the entire practise talking about the last game and our general team objectives. There were many different opinions and (apart from the normal presence of politics) I feel that our team is going through some sort of transformation.

I dislike the stereotype that all women are complicated. I feel this over-simplified stereotype has been imprinted in my mind and eliminating it is like digging out a raspberry bush; very hard to uproot. Instead of focusing so much on gender, couldn’t we just say personalities? A colourful variety of individuals that see the world in their own unique way. Maybe a bit idealistic, but I prefer this over any stagnant stereotype.

Are all women complicated? Are all men simple? Are all women emotional? Are all men insensitive? Does everyone create their own personal projection of gender in their heads? Or is it a constant fluctuation and evolution, going along with society?

Traditional Argentine grin.

La Hincha. All images are from http://turkey2010.fiba.com.

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