Basketball is a sport that dates back to 1891, where Canadian Doctor James Naismith created it in order to teach physical education in a less aggressive manner. Boys’ schools at the time tended to stress the idea that physical and emotional hardships built character, but less physically damaging sports like basketball proved to be excellent alternatives to the harsh contact sports like football. High school basketball in the United States today almost seems to be a continuation of this tradition. James Naismith would probably be proud of how high school basketball has turned out today, regardless of his opinions on professional basketball.
There’s a great deal of controversy today about high school football. The magnitude of the football injuries that these teenagers are sustaining is hard to ignore. A shocking number of adolescents end up paralyzed for life as a result of their high school football injuries. Football is an aggressive contact sport where head injuries are common and other bodily injuries are the norm. Many small town American cultures tend to stress the importance of the results of high school football teams to the extent that the teenage players feel compelled to go above and beyond, no matter how much it damages their bodies.
Many school districts are actually shutting down their high school football teams. The lawsuits, the outcry from concerned parents, and the broader cultural shifts are becoming so difficult to ignore that high school football might be a thing of the past. This situation almost seems to confirm everything that Doctor James Naismith was trying to get across over a century ago, even though his version of basketball is different from the one that people use today.
High school basketball is still not a contact sport. People are supposed to touch the ball and not each other. The ball is constantly in motion, and people only pass the ball across short distances. This is a sport that lends itself to nonviolent competition more easily, particularly when compared to a contact sport like American football. High school basketball is probably not going to suffer the same fate as high school football. While players can still suffer injuries when they’re playing high school basketball, these are usually going to be minor injuries compared to the paralyzing injuries that people can sustain during high school football.
High school basketball is a product of the modern American post-World War Two high school culture. Going to high school became something of a universal experience in the middle of the twentieth century, which was not the case previously. High school culture the way that people know it today took shape around the same time. While college life the way people know it today was largely a product of the 1920’s and earlier, more and more people started going to college after World War Two. College steadily became a nearly universal rite of passage in its own right.
Many people play high school basketball today in the hopes of starting a career in basketball. People will typically start training for sports like basketball in childhood, and then start playing on basketball teams during their adolescence. Some people will try to get athletic scholarships as a result of their success with high school basketball. Basketball at this stage can be a stepping stone to success for a lot of people, at least in this way.
Once they reach the level of college basketball, people will try to make it to the professional leagues. Many professional basketball players got their start at this point. However, it is true that the majority of people who play either high school or college basketball are never going to do it for the rest of their lives, which is automatically going to make the experience of watching a high school basketball game different from a professional basketball game.
Plenty of the parents of the teammates and the friends of the teammates get excited about high school basketball, and it is certainly going to get covered in the school paper. However, high school basketball does not tend to inspire the devotion in small town Americans that high school football does for whatever reason. Many people do get excited, but they rarely treat high school basketball players as heroes, which is not necessarily the case for high school football players. People who play basketball in high school can focus more on the game and less on meeting the expectations of others.
Still, high school basketball is a cause for excitement for a lot of people. Cheerleaders will practice specifically supporting the team. The band and the color guard will do the same. People will be cheering from the stands, wearing the teams’ colors. Different high schools are going to have their own high school songs, which are usually going to be heard during pep rallies. People will usually chant these during high school basketball games.
The basketball players themselves will approach the game from different perspectives. Some of them are more or less trying to pad their resumes for college, knowing just how competitive the world of college is today and just how difficult it is for even the best students to make it into the top schools. Those wanting to compete on a high level will need to up their game and make sure their choice of footwear isn’t letting them down. They need to stay at the top level, such as having a pair of the best shoes for basketball in 2017 and the year after. Other people just really like the game and play the game because they know that this is a good time for it. Some people really do want to play basketball for a career, and playing basketball now is about honing the craft and trying to find a way to make it to the big leagues.
Statistically speaking, the people who are doing basketball for fun or for resume padding are probably being more practical than the people who want to play basketball professionally. Few people will ever do this, even if they are very talented at basketball. Even the people who do make it tend to have unsteady careers that last for less than two decades. Still, high school basketball means a lot to many people, even if it doesn’t inspire the devotion of some other sports and won’t change everyone’s lives.