By Dr. Paul Drew
Welcome to the first issue of volume five of Swish, a weekly periodical with recaps and photos of Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball games, and other pertinent info such as announcements and updates from the program.
This past weekend, all 30 teams in the Fall Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball league had a practice/scrimmage against an opponent from the same division. This was the opportunity for teams to have their players get used to playing with each other and to learn how to work as a unit.
Regular season will start this coming weekend, and the excitement is building towards a fun and entertaining weekend of youth basketball. All games are at the Santa Monica YMCA, and if you have a relative or friend that you wish to see play, then come watch the game, and remember, admission is free.
History of Basketball: Dr. James Naismith and the YMCA
Did you know that the game of basketball was invented at the YMCA? In 1891, Canadian James Naismith, who had a degree in physical education from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and had become the university’s first athletic director, left Montreal to become a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School (later to be named Springfield College), in Springfield, Massachusetts.
It was the wintertime, and Naismith had the task of trying to keep rowdy young men occupied with a game or activity that could be done inside the gymnasium during the harsh weather of the New England winter. He wanted to make sure that it was an activity that wouldn’t involve physical roughness such as football or lacrosse. So he created an activity that had 13 simple rules:
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.
- A player cannot run with the ball, the player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at good speed.
- The ball must be held in or between the hands, the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute.
- A foul is striking the ball with the fist, violation of rules 3 and 4, and such as described in rule 5.
- If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count a goal for opponents.
- A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from grounds into the basket and stays there. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field and played by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The “thrower-in” is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
- The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls, and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made.
- The referee shall be the judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be fifteen-minute halves, with five-minute rests between.
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In the case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.
Obviously, there have been changes since these original rules, such as adding dribbling, free throws, and point values. But the game has many of the same roots in the original rules.
At first, Naismith wanted to use boxes for the goals, but had to settle for peach baskets, when no boxes were available. To be honest, I don’t think that I would like the name “Boxball”
The first baskets had no holes in them, and a janitor would have to climb a ladder, in order to retrieve the ball. Later, a small hole was put in the bottom of the basket, to push the ball out with a long stick. It wasn’t until 1906, 15 years later, that the bottom of the net was cut out, in order to let the ball through.
The YMCA was instrumental in promoting the sport throughout the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world by having YMCA basketball leagues established. Naismith would become the physical education director for the Denver YMCA, while working on his medical degree. Even during WWI, Naismith was an army chaplain who worked at the YMCA in France, promoting the sport.
On his graduation from medical school, the University of Kansas was seeking an athletic coach and a director for their 650 seat chapel which students attended every morning. He was ideally prepared for the post and was recommended to the University as ‘..inventor of basketball, medical doctor, Presbyterian minister, teetotaler, all-round athlete, non-smoker, and owner of a vocabulary without cuss words.’ He went on to become the head basketball coach at the University of Kansas.
Dr. Naismith lived long enough to see basketball make its debut as an Olympic sport in Berlin in 1936, as he was in attendance to watch the sport that he invented. By his passing in 1939, basketball had become a collegiate sport, and was being played at YMCAs all around the world, and to be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come.
Scrimmage action between the Parliaments and the all girls team of the Supremes
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 of two of our players who are best buddies, and have been playing together for many seasons. Luke Khosla and Eric Papazian can be found together as teammates but also hanging around the Santa Monica YMCA playing basketball games with friends or against each other. Luke and Eric are always helping other kids at the YMCA to join in their pickup games, or helping younger players improve their skills. Luke and Eric are excellent examples of what we wish to see with our players: sportsmanship, enthusiasm, and helping others. I was lucky enough to separate them for a moment to ask a few questions:
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about playing basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Eric: The thing I enjoy most at the YMCA is its way of being serious and fun at the same time. I love being around my friends and learning new things. I also love making new friends with my new teams.
Luke: Basketball has always been and forever will be my favorite sport. It is fast paced and exciting and the feeling of making a basket will never get old.
DocDrew: Which are your favorite memories or moments during your playing career at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Eric: My favorite moments at the YMCA are the tryouts, championships, and the potluck.
Luke: My favorite moment playing at the y is when I scored 20 points in one game. That is a feeling I’m looking forward to this season.
DocDrew: Who are your favorite players and why?
Eric: I don’t have a specific player that I like. But if I had to choose, I would choose someone who is respectful on the court and off the court. For example, I like people like Kawhi Leonard because he helped kids in need and is very calm on the court.
Luke: My favorite basketball player is Patrick Beverly of the LA Clippers because of his effort, heart, passion for the game, and energy.
Luke and Eric emphasize what we want to see at the YMCA, friendship that provides support to their teammates and all others that participate in the youth basketball program. Their sportsmanship and enjoyment for the game help set examples for the younger players to follow.
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
R=Rookies, B=Bantams, MN=Minors, MJ=Majors
10:30 AM R Bluesbreakers Turtles
11:40 AM R Zombies Animals
12:50 PM R Yardbirds Rascals
2:00 PM MN Clovers Express
3:10 PM MN Whispers Drifters
4:20 PM MN Coasters Impressions
5:30 PM MN Delfonics Platters
6:40 PM MJ Supremes Commodores
10:30 AM B Pretenders Runaways
11:40 AM B Revolution Heartbreakers
12:50 PM B Police Cars
2:00 PM B Bosses Beat
3:10 PM MJ Miracles Spinners
4:20 PM MJ Godfathers Wonders
5:30 PM MJ Parliaments Temptations
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish