Our school has an 8th grade boys basketball team. I've been asking the boys for a schedule which they didn't seem to have, but one of the tallest boys on the team informed me that they had a "big match" today. (I'll work on the incorrect use of the word "match" later and, based upon the balloons on the ceiling, I think it was actually a "tournament" with several "games"..) The most important thing is that they spoke to me in English and invited me to their game. I was going.
I walked with trepidation into Ataturk Stadium. There were few parents, no cheerleaders, no boy-crazy girls, and very little sound...As a matter of fact, I was the only woman in the entire stadium, and the only noise I heard was from an occasional referee whistle, a coach shouting directions, and the bouncing ball. There was no chatter among the players, no music, and no screaming parents (actually that part was very nice). I took a seat and glanced at the scoreboard. I did a double-take. Was I really that late? Was I reading time remaining instead of points? Do they keep score a different way in Turkey? The score read 73 - 10 (my school's boys in orange were ahead) and there were 4 minutes remaining in the first half. They were playing 8 minute quarters. I don't think I've ever seen a middle school basketball game with a score that high.
I turned my attention to the game. Sure enough, my school made another basket. The score was now 75-10. Then I realized that neither team played defense. The game was all passing and shooting. Plus, each boy on my team was about 12 inches taller than each boy on the other team so a rebound was simply matter of holding up a hand
and at the last moment and catching the ball....no effort or pressure.(It almost looked like 8th v. 6th grade the height difference was so great.)
The whistle blew for the end of the first half. The coach ran onto the court and lined the boys up for pictures. (This confused me, too. I thought the game might be over..) The whistle blew for the start of the second half. The coach put 5 different boys on the court. The score jumped to 3 figures...something like 125 - 18. Obviously the teams were very mismatched. But, I never saw any defense on either side, so I don't know how my school's team would stack up against an American middle school. One thing I can say... they know how to pass (sometimes 3 or 4 good passes) and shoot. But would they be as accurate with pressure?
The buzzer sounded. No clapping, no cheering, no sad faces on either team. Everyone seemed to have fun. Game over. Everything was very pleasant, quiet, polite, and kind. I miss the adrenaline. I needed to cheer and yell tonight. Oh well, I'll blog instead...