By Dr. Paul Drew
Welcome to the fourth issue of volume three of Swish, a weekly periodical with recaps and photos of Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball games, and other pertinent info such as standings, schedules, announcements, and updates from the program.
April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and our coaches took pledges to be aware of, and prevent sexual child abuse.
We are also very happy to announce our new assistant youth sports coordinator, Ian Roper. He was already part of the Santa Monica YMCA family, working the front desk. Ian has incredible knowledge of basketball and is pursuing a career in coaching the sport that he loves so much, and truly enjoys working with kids. We are very fortunate to have him help us with the youth basketball program.
It’s recently come to my attention, that parents, including myself, are having difficult times getting kids away from the video game screens. Below is a very recent article from the Wall Street Journal, that gives some helpful advice on how to help parents deal with those nightly battles to get them off the screen, and also the science involved as to why it is so difficult to detach children from their devices.
Why Videogames Trigger the Nightly Meltdown—and How to Help Your Child Cope
Just because it’s hard for your kids to put down the game controllers doesn’t mean they’re addicts. Here’s what happens in their brains the second after the game shuts off
By Julie Jargon
April 2, 2019
This is the debut of the WSJ’s Family & Tech column, a new weekly feature examining the impact of technology on family life.
Every night, parents around the globe fight a battle of wills when they tell their kids to power down their game consoles to do homework, eat dinner or go to bed. The directive is usually met with some serious side-eye and whining.
In some cases, children yell, throw tantrums or slam doors. No one likes to be forced to stop having fun, but something unique appears to be going on here—you don’t hear much about kids having epic meltdowns when they’re told to stop playing with Legos.
So what’s happening in that moment, the forced transition from game play to real life?
Children and adolescents don’t yet have the capability to stop doing a rewarding activity and move on to something less fun, neurologists say. That doesn’t mean a child is addicted to videogames. Although experts say children with depression and anxiety are more prone to immerse themselves in games as a coping mechanism, it’s just generally hard for most kids to stop. There are ways for parents to hack this problem, but first they have to understand their kids’ minds.
“What’s happening in our brains is that there are systems that evolved to sustain our interest. It will lead you to seek food for days until you find it, and that’s followed by satiety,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, who has studied similarities between the effects of gaming and substance abuse.
Pulling the plug in the middle of a videogame—before a child has had the chance to feel satisfied by completing a level or mission—is a bit like yanking a half-eaten doughnut out of someone’s hand.
The anticipation of playing video games results in a roughly 75% boost to baseline dopamine levels in the brain, according to Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., who has analyzed studies on gaming. That’s far less than the boost associated with doing hard drugs, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but it’s not much higher than the boost that comes from that doughnut.
Eating the doughnut is a finite act, however. Video game makers build in a stream of intermittent rewards to keep people playing. In some games, there’s no real end or it can take hours to achieve.
A 1998 study involving adult gamers found that dopamine release correlated to how the players progressed—the better they got and the more difficult the challenges became, the more dopamine was released, said the study’s author, Matthias Koepp, now a neurology professor at the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology.
Children have a harder time than adults disengaging from rewarding activities because the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain involved in making decisions and controlling impulses—isn’t fully developed until age 25. PHOTO: TAMMY LIAN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Accurately measuring dopamine in the brain is a challenge, and can involve injections of radioactive materials that can be tracked on a PET scan. That’s why there haven’t been many studies—and none performed on children.
While adults have the reasoning ability to override the dopamine rush and move on to other, more important tasks, kids do not, neurologists say. The brain’s prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain involved in making decisions and controlling impulses—isn’t fully developed until age 25.
Amirah Counts, a single mom in Boulder, Colo., struggles most nights to get her 7-year-old son to stop playing “World of Warcraft.”
Amirah Counts and her son, Jaiden, of Boulder, Colo., recently agreed to do a ‘detox,’ limiting his video game playing. “On a good day, he gets home from school and the rule is to do homework first, but as soon as he’s done, he wants to play videogames. If I tell him no, he’ll just sit there and not do anything. It’s like he doesn’t have the capacity to entertain himself,” she said. “A bad night is when we just come home and I’m so exhausted I let him play video games until bedtime and then he’s livid when it’s time for bed.”
“There is no intrinsic reason a child should stop playing on his own, unless there is a more rewarding experience available at that moment,” said Marc Palaus, who reviewed more than 100 papers on the neural and behavioral effects of video gaming while working on a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at the Open University of Catalonia.
When Chris Fuller’s son was in sixth grade, he would plow through his homework so he could play “Fortnite,” the popular Internet game where a hundred players battle to be the last one standing. The boy’s homework quality and grades began to slip. “What drove me to complete madness was he’d turn off one device and go to another. He would get off ‘Fortnite’ and come upstairs with us and get on his phone to watch YouTube videos about ‘Fortnite,’” said Mr. Fuller, a public relations executive in Alpharetta, Ga.
He and his wife stopped allowing their son to play videogames on weeknights when he started 7th grade last fall and Mr. Fuller said that’s resulted in better-quality homework and an improvement in grades. But on weekends, their son, now 13, has moved on to “Overwatch,” another online multiplayer game he has a hard time shutting off.
For Will Fuller, it’s difficult to turn off the game “Overwatch.“ I recently heard something at 5 a.m. and went downstairs and found him playing,” Mr. Fuller said.
Experts say most kids who play videogames are not at risk of developing a serious problem such as “gaming disorder,” which the World Health Organization says is a pattern of behavior characterized by “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities … and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” The frequency or duration of game-playing alone doesn’t equate to having a disorder. Only less than 1% of gamers qualify for such a diagnosis, experts say.
Some experts, including the leadership of the American Psychiatric Association, say there’s not enough evidence yet to even declare gaming addiction a unique disorder.
Rather than worrying about whether or not your kids are addicted to gaming, psychologists suggest figuring out whether they use videogames to cope with depression, anxiety or stress. A 2017 study found that adolescents who played videogames four or more hours a day for six or seven days a week showed more depressive symptoms than those who played less often.
What You—and Your Child—Can Do
Even when an underlying mental-health issue is not at play, many parents face surly kids when it’s game-over time. So how can you manage the nightly battle?
* Institute rules around game play—and follow them consistently. “Don’t let yourself fall into these traps, like, ‘Well, he didn’t play last week so we let him play an extra three hours this week,’” said Michael Milham, vice president of research and founding director of the Center for the Developing Brain at the Child Mind Institute.
Some experts advise parents to warn kids about 20 minutes before it’s time to shut down so they know what to expect and don’t begin a new level or mission. Dr. Milham suggests not letting kids play videogames right up until bedtime, because some have trouble settling down to sleep.
* Give your children a role in creating the rules. Susan Groner, a parenting coach and author, said children are more invested in following guidelines when they have a hand in developing them. If you and your child can come to an agreement on when videogames can be played and for how long, you can try it for a week and then revise if it’s not working. She also suggests having kids set a timer so they can monitor their own game-playing.
* It’s never too late to establish rules. A few weeks ago, Ms. Counts decided to do a “detox” with her son. In a written agreement, he said he’d try to whittle down game-playing to an hour a day and that the two would do more activities together, including reading books. While they haven’t reached their goal yet, she said it’s helped by giving her son something else to look forward to.
* If a serious problem develops, seek treatment for a possible underlying condition. Chris Ferguson, the Stetson University professor, said concerned parents should seek treatment from professionals who specialize in kids and teens.
“I would not take kids to a place that specializes in gaming addiction. A lot of them are capitalizing on this moral panic and they don’t have empirically valid treatments. They may treat the gaming addiction and give you your depressed kid back,” he said.
Although the season is young, our Yorkies saw this as a key game against the undefeated Chihuahuas. Fortunately, we responded in a big way and secured a tough 15-8 victory in a game that was closer and more evenly matched than the score indicates. The first quarter was a relatively explosive back-and-forth affair with Vitalina Moncher scoring the first bucket of the game, but the Chihuahuas hit just moments later. Vitalina hit another, but again they quickly responded to tie it. Rosalina Storstein, who played another excellent all-around game, then hit a bucket and we were up 6-4 after one.
Ryan Lim played his best game of the season and had 2 of his career-high 5 points in a very good second quarter for our Yorkies, as Vitalina would hit another bucket and Oguz Aghayev would hit a free throw at the half to give us a solid 11-4 lead. The score stayed that way until they scored to make it 11-6 in the fourth, but as their shots rimmed out in the closing minutes, Grace Samy put up a shot that bounced around and eventually rolled into the net to secure the victory. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
Terriers vs Pugs
The 1st half of this game was a real crowd pleaser with both teams going basket for basket leaving it locked 12-12 at the half. The 3rd quarter Terriers got a couple unanswered baskets one of which from an Eloise Siegler fast break leading to a bucket…overall she also had a steal, a rebound, and a block added to her trademark tough defense. The 4th quarter, the Terriers opened the lead more largely with help of Theo “Teddy” Franklin who had 4 of his game high 6 steals, 3 of which lead to impactful fast break baskets leaving him with 8 points and a rebound for a ferocious game from the little man.
Rhys Scheflen played with a maturity and unselfishness beyond his years with his court vision and passing and put up 4 points, 3 rebounds, a steal, and an assist. Tristan Hayes, earning Player of the Game, had his best performance of his young career dropping 11 points, pulling down 11 boards, snagging 2 steals, and tossing 1 assist. This was the Terriers 1st game with a full 10 kid roster and Colson Moore chipped in with a steal, Roman Gabriel grabbed a rebound, and Riyaan Bhatt, Dylan Geary, Kiera Wheeler, and Triton Hayes all held their own on defense to help finally give the Terriers their 1st win of the season. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes
The Pugs took on the Terriers in a late afternoon game. David Casparian led the way with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Laila Elliot was active early with 2 rebounds and 1 steal, making good passes to her open teammates while playing tough interior defense against the Terrier forwards. Branden Forester made an impact early, scoring the first two buckets of his Rookie career; finishing with 4 points and 1 rebound. Also getting in on the act, Hawkins Wakefield electrified the crowd with his first career basket; a right-handed runner in the lane.
Reyansh Varma, Cruz Hecklin and Adrian Liu showed much improvement, playing unselfishly and contributing on defense to help the Pugs tie the game up at halftime.
Today, it was a tale of two halves as the Terriers were able to collect some steals and convert transition baskets to pull away and maintain a comfortable lead.
Arya Nawathe closed out the scoring for the Pugs going 1 of 2 at the free throw line. Final Score: Pugs 17 Terrier 27. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
Corgies fall to the Bassets 17-12. The Corgies opened their game against the Bassets with a quick basket from Kammie Chen. Amir Enayati followed up with a score of his own to finish the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Corgies offense stalled in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but great hustle by Alden Wong kept them in the game. A late flourish in the 4th, led by Annika Cook’s tenacious defense, and buckets from Sammy Levi, Jordan Blum, and another from Kammie Chen, would not be enough for the Corgies to fetch the win. Submitted by Coach Jeff Holsey
After a 3 week break, our Scotties team was ready and excited to resume game action in the Bantam League on Sunday. Facing a tough Pinschers team, the kids hard work in practice paid off as we set the tone early on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The threesome of Ben Steelman, Alan Larkin and Player of the Game Dylan Kravitz were on fire scoring all of our baskets, with Kravitz leading the way with 8 points, and Steelman and Larkin scoring 6 each. But we also got great help on the defensive end from Brandon Israel, Jaxton Moore, Luca Hayutin, Teddy Chang and Ben Steelman, holding the Pinschers to only 8 points. It was our best all around game of the season and we hope to keep that effort going in the weeks ahead. Submitted by Coach Bill Kravitz
In a defensive struggle, the Shelties outlasted the Schnauzers 10-8. In a herculean effort, player of the game, Rayan Etemadnia scored 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals (no omens here!). The game was a back and forth affair. The Shelties holding a slim lead of 6-4 heading into half, had to hold a tenacious Schnauzer team. With the score tied with less than 90 seconds to go Etemadnia hit the go ahead and game winning layup. A solid 3pt attempt by the Schnauzers at the buzzer looked good out the hand but rattled in and out and the Shelties survived. Aiden “the Worm” Lin had 7 rebounds, while Elliot Ma and Sienna Shickler each contributed baskets to the Shelties final 10 point count. Submitted by Coach Suraj Gohill
Pinschers versus the Scotties: Tough day for the Pinschers, as they had to go up against the Scotties who would not allow the Pinschers to dribble penetrate their defense, frustrating the Pinschers, and taking advantage of the costly turnovers. Good defense was displayed by Michael Mikhail, Shai Painter, and Jenson Montague. Good ball distribution was displayed by Dominic Drew and Ryan Cohen. Back to the drawing board for Pinschers coach Karim Mikhail to help promote more passing from those that like to dribble too much. Final score was Scotties 20, Pinschers 8. Submitted by DocDrew
The Labs Zoe DeBenning shoots the ball in her game against the Pointers
The Pointers played the L abs and improved our record to 2-1 with score of 21-17. We had good ball movement and almost every player on the team scored a basket. We continue to work on fundamentals like passing and individual defense.
Kai Mevasse was the player of the game and finished with 4 points. He made both of his free throws at the end of the game.
The Collies started this game hot and never took the foot of the pedal. Parker Cappiccille, Kalen Anderson and Max Hinton led the way for the Collies with aggressive offensive play and tough defense. The Collies, sporting their traditional gold uniforms in the outing, spread the floor well with looking for open teammates and finding the open player for baskets in transition. The Collies also dominated the boards out rebounding the Wolfhounds, sporting their traditional red colors for the matchup. In the end, the Collies proved too much with a 35-16 victory and were forced to play 3 point and key defense due to their large lead most of the game. Submitted by Coach John Baracy
On paper, our Greyhounds appeared to match up well with the Mastiffs. From the start, we pressed well on defense and shot well and passed well on offense. Evan Daghighian and Timosha Moncher would each score 6 points in the first quarter as we quickly built up a double-digit lead. The second quarter brought more offense, as Travis Waters hit a corner three and Guy Carter hit from inside. Shiva McIntosh hit 2 of his 6 points in the quarter, as he had as many assists as points on this day.
Assists were in fashion for our full 32 minutes, as Evan (21 points) and Timosha (17 points), joined Shiva and Jason Tun (7 points; including a buzzer-beating 3) in dishing the ball to open teammates on the majority of our possessions. With 4 very fast guards that can splash and play D in Jason, Shiva, Evan, and Timosha; we can cause trouble with certain teams, as we did in this game. Amir Jahromi continued his improvement down low, as he worked hard in the paint all day and Oliver Ghiassi again worked unselfishly all game to get his teammates open. We did not box-out as well as we should have and some of our traps were lazy, but it was an excellent effort overall by our Greyhounds. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
The Boxers defeated the Dobies 55-42 on Sunday. The game was closer than the score indicates, especially in the first half. Quest Miller had another big game for the Boxers with 18 points. Eric Papazian also had a strong game with 14 points, including 4 of 6 from the charity stripe. Isaac Rockwell, always a strong defensive presence for the Boxers, scored 10 points. Eight of those came in the second half, as the Boxers figured out how to get the ball to Isaac in a position to score. Dom Kajota contributed 8 points and was reliable as usual running the point. Aayan Lakhani and Cecilia Casas each had a basket and some nice assists. Lucas Greblikas rebounded well, although he was the exception for Boxers, as the Dobies did a better job of boxing out and going after loose balls. Despite a lackluster defense in this game, the Boxers came out on top on the strength of their offense. Submitted by Coach Jonathan Wray
This Week’s Profile
Each week, Swish has a profile of a coach, player, or someone in the program who inspires all of us involved in Santa Monica YMCA basketball.
This week’s profile is the Moore family: Parents Jason and Lisa have their two sons Colson and Jaxton playing youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA. Jaxton is a veteran of YMCA basketball and is currently in the Bantams, while younger brother Colson is in the Rookies.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about playing basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Colson: I like dribbling and scoring, and hanging out with my teammates.
Jaxton: I like the excitement of the games, and I like that so many of my friends from school play at the Y with me.
DocDrew: What are your most memorable moments in your basketball career at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Colson: The the first time I took a shot on basket.
Jaxton: When I got Player of the Game in my Rookie All-Star game.
DocDrew: Who are your favorite players and why?
Colson: LeBron James, because he’s really good and he’s on the Lakers.
Jaxton: Steph Curry, because I like watching him shoot 3’s.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about having your boys play basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Jason and Lisa: We really like watching them grow as players and develop a love of the game. We love their excitement and pride when they make a good play. We really enjoy the community at the Y and interacting with families we know through school, soccer, baseball, or other activities.
We thank the Moore family for all their support and contributions to the youth basketball program at the Santa Monica YMCA. We enjoy watching the boys grow up on the basketball court, and the cheering by their parents.
SATURDAY, APRIL 27
1:45 PM DOXIES 2, MALTESE 7
3:00 PM CHIHUAHUAS 8, YORKIES 15
4:10 PM PUGS 17, TERRIERS 27
5:20 PM WOLFHOUNDS 16, COLLIES 35
6:30 PM LABS 17, POINTERS 21
SUNDAY, APRIL 28
10:30 AM CORGIES 12, BASSETS 17
11:40 AM SHELTIES 10, SCHNAUZERS 8
12:50 PM BEAGLES 8, SPANIELS 12
2:00 PM PINSCHERS 8, SCOTTIES 20
3:10 PM DOBIES 42, BOXERS 55
4:20 PM MALAMUTES 40, DANES 22
5:30 PM MASTIFFS 41, GREYHOUNDS 59
6:40 PM AIREDALES 34, SHEPHERDS 43
Teams are awarded 5 points for a win, 3 points for a tie, 1 point for a loss, 0 points for a forfeit. Tournament games have greater point value. Teams are listed in their place in the standings with W-L-T and team points.
Yorkies 2-0-1, 13 points
Chihuahuas 2-1-0, 11 points
Maltese 2-1-0, 10 points *one loss by forfeit
Doxies 1-1-1, 9 points
Terriers 1-2-0, 6 points *Unsportsmanlike technical resulting in loss of one point
Pugs 0-3-0, 3 points
Spaniels 4-0-0, 20 points
Beagles 3-1-0, 16 points
Corgies 2-2-0, 12 points
Shelties 2-2-0, 12 points
Scotties 2-2-0, 12 points
Pinschers 1-3-0, 8 points
Schnauzers 1-3-0, 8 points
Bassets 1-3-0, 8 points
Akitas 3-0-0, 15 points
Whippets 3-0-0, 15 points
Pointers 2-1-0, 11 points *Pointers beat Labs head to head
Labs 2-1-0, 11 points
Setters 1-2-0, 7 points *Setters beat Collies head to head
Collies 1-2-0, 7 points
Dalmatians 0-3-0, 3 points
Wolfhounds 0-3-0, 3 points
Shepherds 4-0-0, 20 points
Boxers 4-0-0, 20 points
Greyhounds 3-1-0, 16 points *Greyhounds beat Malamutes head to head
Malamutes 3-1-0, 16 points
Dobies 1-3-0, 8 points *Dobies beat Danes head to head
Danes 1-3-0, 8 points
Airedales 0-4-0, 4 points
Mastiffs 0-4-0, 4 points
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
SATURDAY, MAY 4
10:30 AM COLLIES VS DALMATIONS
11:40 AM DOBIES VS AIREDALES
12:50 PM SHEPHERDS VS MALAMUTES
2:00 PM DANES VS MASTIFFS
3:10 PM CORGIES VS SHELTIES
4:20 PM BEAGLES VS BASSETTS
5:30 PM PINSCHERS VS SCHNAUZERS
6:40 PM SPANIELS VS SCOTTIES
SUNDAY, MAY 5**PICTURE DAY #2**
ROOKIE LEAGUE9:30 AM DOXIES AND CHIHUAHUAS TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTO
10:30 AM DOXIES VS CHIHUAHUAS GAME
10:30 AM PUGS AND MALTESE TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS
11:35 AM ALL 6 ROOKIE TEAM GATHER TO TAKE LARGE 6-TEAM GROUP PHOTO
11:40 AM PUGS VS MALTESE GAME
11:40 AM TERRIERS AND YORKIES TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS
12:50 PM TERRIERS VS YORKIES GAME
12:50 PM AKITAS AND WHIPPETS TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS
2:00 PM AKITAS VS WHIPPETS GAME
2:00 PM WOLFHOUNDS AND SETTERS TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PIX
3:05 PM AKITAS, WHIPPETS, WOLFHOUNDS AND SETTERS TAKE LARGE 4-TEAM PHOTO
3:10 PM WOLFHOUNDS VS SETTERS GAME
3:10 PM LABS AND DALMATIONS TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS
4:20 PM LABS VS DALMATIONS GAME
4:20 PM POINTERS AND COLLIES TAKE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS
5:25 PM LABS, DALMATIONS, POINTERS AND COLLIES TAKE LARGE 4-TEAM PHOTO
5:30 PM POINTERS VS COLLIES GAME
5:30 PM ALL MAKE UP INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS ARE TAKEN RIGHT NOW
6:40 PM GREYHOUNDS VS BOXERS—NOT PICTURE DAY FOR YOU TWO
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish