With the NBA playoffs well underway and the WNBA season coming up (Ashley Paris in LA...I can't wait to see how she does!) I got to thinking today about all the reasons basketball is my favorite sport. I came up with a lot. The most important one seems, to me, pretty basic: it’s completely fair.
First of all, if one team scores, the other gets the chance to retaliate instantly. There aren’t three more outs to wait for or 100 more yards to get through to even the score. It's your five against a theirs. If you can’t score the next time down, it’s on you. The other team might have played awesome defense, but just the same, you get the chance to go down to the other end and play defense just as well.
Secondly, it’s FAST! I’ve seen teams come back from a 20-point deficit in just 5 minutes. Or execute a last-second-timeout drawn up play in only 5 seconds. There is so much going on that it’s very hard to get bored. Even at a blowout game, there are a few minutes when the underdog starts to comeback and you think the game might even get interesting.
Finally, it’s not all about being the biggest or the best; it’s about heart. Well, ok, having true talent does make it a lot easier. However, there are plenty of times when The Best are brought down by those who just wanted it more and worked harder for it. I will never forget when I played against a team who had beat us at home 100-28. (That’s not a typo. We lost by 72 points. At home. It SUCKED) But, when we went into their house, we didn’t have anything to lose. So, we came out and kept them from scoring the first 5 minutes of the game and, even though we lost in the end, we only lost by 15. The fans did that annoying thing where they stand until their team scores and I have to say, it felt good to see that half their fans sat down before they scored. Those are the best games to watch and the best games to play. (And it’s always fun to walk by the smaller gym during the men’s game and see the other team running lines.)
Now, I’m not trying to say that other sports aren’t as fair. But, if you take away all of the other factors (excuses), at the end of the day all you need is a ball, a basket, and an opponent, even if that opponent is just you.