Bad sporting memories: Big mistakes in high-school basketball games
I grew up playing almost all sports and excelling at most of them. While soccer (football) was my mainstay, I was also good at literally everything else I was involved in with one exception: For some reason I absolutely sucked at baseball. I now look back and at least partially blame the fact that I chose to use a wooden bat not realizing that the aluminum ones are much easier to hit with.
I got to go to college for free because of my prowess in soccer, and I was also ranked 10th in the State that I lived in in breaststroke and although I was not terribly tall (i'm still not) I was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. That doesn't mean that all of my memories were good ones though and some of the mistakes I made in basketball haunt me to this day. I think back about them and cringe.
For starters, I had a lot to live up to because my elder sibling was regarded as one of the best high-school basketball players in the state and even the entire country. I was nowhere near that level of capability, but it was expected I would be. For this reason I was guarded much more closely by other teams whose coach were familiar with my older sister and how dominant she was.
While this seemed crappy at the time, it probably made me a better player because I had constant pressure on me and still managed to put up double digits most games. I stopped playing basketball after my 10th grade year at the encouragement of the coaches who thought I should focus more on soccer and to this day I am very thankful for them for helping me to come to that decision because it did a world of good for me.
My final year playing basketball had a few very embarrassing moments in it though and this had a lot to do with me trying to do more than I was actually capable of. It didn't help that most of my team-mates were not very good and I ended up being a bit of a ball hog because for at least 2 of the other people on the floor at any given point of time, giving them the ball was essentially the same as throwing it to the other team.
One of the big mistakes that I made was the fact that I let my arrogance get the best of me and the fact that I was being double teamed most times lead to me attempting to not just make passes but to make "no look" passes as often as possible. I would feign driving to the hole only to toss the ball in the direction of one of the other two guys who would now be wide open.
This worked a lot for me but there was one instance that I did this that resulted in the crowd erupting in laughter(we actually had pretty decent crowds at our games.) They weren't laughing with me, they were laughing AT me. This is because in my attempt to be a super-star who makes no look passes to his team-mates, I no-look passed the ball to the referee (we had dark jerseys that game and so did the ref.) That hit me hard and I think about how stupid it was to this day.
Another situation happened on more than one occasion. Because I had very little faith in my teammates, I would normally try to take the ball all the way down the court on my own. I had pretty good ball handling skills but one of the fundamentals of the game at the time was to try to trap the point guard (or whoever had the ball) as soon as they cross the halfway line. At this point, if you know anything about basketball, the ball holder's movement is very limited because you are not allowed to cross back into the other half of the court. If you do it will be a turnover due to an "over and back" violation.
This is rarely seen on the pro stage but it was quite common in youth basketball because kids freak out when they are all of a sudden jumped by two people once they cross the center line. I'm not going to try to pin it on my team-mates, but they were absolutely terrible at making themselves even available for a pass at that point although since I was being double teamed at least ONE of them should have been wide open. Of course there was always the opportunity that they were going to drop the ball right away anyhow - what can I say, we didn't have a great depth of talent at that point in my life and where I lived. Basically everyone who tried out made the team.
Anyway, on more than one occasion, instead of passing the ball, I would try to shoot for the basket from "downtown" and on every one of these occasions I missed, badly. Most of the time it wouldn't even make it all the way to the backboard. Obviously, this is much worse than turning the ball over by a bad pass to a bad teammate because in my situation I was basically giving the ball away. By passing it to an unskilled teammate, at least he could have just stood there and waited to pass the ball back to me.
What can I say? I was 14 years old at the time... I had a lot to learn.
There are moments that stick in your head about your own personal sporting past and these two moments (there are others, trust me) of failure.... well I can see and hear and perhaps even smell what was going on at those times. They were traumatizing I suppose. I don't suppose it really matters a great deal though because I am only 5 foot 11 , maybe 6 feet tall so the deck was stacked against me in this sport anyway.
By the way, if you haven't seen Semi-Pro I thought it was a pretty funny film
Perhaps it is better that these situations did occur so that my coaches would direct me towards the sport I truly excelled at.
Do you have any embarrassing sporting memories to share? I'd love to hear about them if you do!