As I sit here writing this post and watching the Bulls game, I’m very thankful for this time of year, when the weather is turning, the grass is finally getting green, and I can finally (FINALLY!) wear open toed shoes. But this time of year also comes with a trade off.
The basketball and hockey playoffs.
UGHHHHH. When will it end!?
And although I like sports when it gives me an excuse to meet my friends at a bar and scream and cheer at a TV with all my college pals, truthfully–I could really care less. I’m just here for the food. Truthfully, I do always thoroughly enjoy trips to the United Center (there’s a great hot dog stand on the top floor!)
You get the point. I DON’T. REALLY. CARE ABOUT SPORTS.
It dawned on me that this is probably because I don’t know what the hell is going on. I never played sports in school. I stuck out a year or two of tee ball solely for the Dunk-a-Roos and Capri Suns. I was never athletically inclined as far as team sports go. (Remember Daria and the volleyball?)
And knowing there are so many of my girls out there who have this same trouble, but thought the whole ‘being a sports fan’ ship had sailed, I enlisted the help of the 27 year old male sitting on the couch next to me.
So I asked him to teach us (myself included) a few basics about the sport.
“Basketball is easy,” he says. “Put the orange ball through the orange hoop.” (This is sounding promising, yes?) “After you get the basics down, it’s easy to follow along.”
ON THE GAME ITSELF:
There are five players on the court from each team, 10 players total. Each team can also have 5 players on the bench to be used for substitutions during the game.
Positions: Each player on the team is assigned a position, just like any other sport. The position in basketball is usually determined mainly by the height of the player. (There are obviously exceptions to this, but it’s a good rule to follow.)
Center: Typically the tallest player on the team. AKA, ‘position 5’.
Forwards: Usually the medium sized players, known as positions 3 and 4
Guards: The shortest players on the team, known as positions 1 and 2.
ON THE TERMINOLOGY:
3 pointer: a basket made from behind the far half-circle on the court. This is worth three points.
2 pointer: a basket made from anywhere else on the court, other than the half circle thing around the basket.
Foul: When a player on offense (with the ball) gets hit by a player on defense, this is called being fouled. If the offensive player gets fouled while he is shooting, he gets to shoot free-throws (see below). Defensively, a player can commit 5 fouls in one game and continue to play. After his 6th foul, he is out and can no longer play the rest of the game.
Violations: A violation, as you might guess, is when a player breaks the rules of the game. This results in awarding posession of the ball to the other team (that’s bad.) Examples of common violations are:
Traveling: When a player takes more than two steps without dribbling (aka bouncing the ball on the floor.)
Carrying: When a twists his hand while handling the ball, holding it from the bottom. The ball must always be handled from the top.
Double Dribbling: When a player starts dribbling, stops, then starts dribbling again. OR when the player dribbles with both hands on the ball.
Free throw: A shot that goes in the basket is worth 1 point. (Jess’ note: This is when all the players line up around the basket, and the one at the end shoots the ball into the hoop! Neal didn’t think this dumbed down terminology was necessary, but I knew better!)
Jump balls and 3 second violations: don’t worry about these, you now know enough to be dangerous. But you can gain points with the cute boy next to you at the bar if you ask him to remind you what these terms mean.
ON THE PLAYOFFS:
The NBA playoffs really do last forever. (FOREVER.)
Each series is a best-of-7 game series. The west teams play each other, and the east teams play each other, until there is only one team left in each conference. The final game series, is, as you might guess, the NBA Championship.
If your boyfriend/husband/new guy is wrapped up watching a successful team continue to win, consider him gone until mid-June.
Did this guide help you? Hopefully this wins you some points with your boyfriend or that new guy you swiped right on yesterday.
P.S. Stay tuned for the next edition in this series: Hockey!