Keeping Things Light

Basketball is popular everywhere, even Thailand. Maybe soccer reigns supreme, but people enjoy this US major sport as much as anyone. They aren’t as avid as American fans, but they are intrigued by the game. The hoop is an oddity to them as they don’t have them on school playgrounds or in parks. If you want to play a game or two, you must bring your own portable hoop. Not everyone owns one, but as a teacher looking for recess ideas for kids to blow off steam, I have sent away for two good ones that I can pull out whenever it is needed. I just set up a court outside with a hoop at either end. It is a mini version, of course, as we don’t have full-court space.

After a tough test, in particular, the students love to get out of class and breathe some fresh air. A game of basketball lifts their spirits after so much intense exam concentration. It keeps things light. I was never a top player in school, but I know the rules and can teach some strategy. Most of all the kids just like to practice making baskets. The short kids plug away at it never giving up and the tall ones show them how it is done. If you have the legs to jump, you can be any height. Over time, the students get better and feel a sense of fulfillment. I can’t wait until we can have a regular game with teams. I know I will be creating future fans of the sport overseas. This gives me a great feeling of patriotism.

I love that you can get anything on the Internet and have it sent to you—even as far away as Thailand. Purchasing some portable basketball hoops was a lot of fun. You can get them in kid’s or what is called youth size or regulation measurements. I elected to go full board and treat my students like adults. They will grow into the game as they mature. Meanwhile, the boards are adjustable. So, I bought standard height hoops mounted on sturdy, stable boards. We painted the backboard with our school colors. It was a fun way to get everyone involved. Each kid had a turn with the brush. Some messy areas had to be redone—a few times!

Storing my hoops is a chore as they are not that light weight. Otherwise, they would topple over, even in a gentle breeze. It is all about balance so there must be a weighted stand, filled with sand or water, to keep the hoop upright. As yet, we haven’t had any mishaps. I insist on three kids when carrying the portable system. No one bears the entire brunt of the weight. I am always there to spot them as they move it to its storage place. At first the kids thought basketball was odd as they didn’t have to use their feet. Soon they learned to enjoy it and asked for it on a regular basis.