Masters Basketball Differences

I play in one or two old-men’s basketball tournaments a year (known by the more politically correct as masters basketball tournaments). They are a lot of fun, and are a great way for us over-50 codgers to get a competitive fitness hit.

I have, however, noticed several differences between masters basketball (at least, the way WE play it) and the competitive game from my younger days. For example:

  • You CAN play basketball without having to actually, run, jump or get back on defense.
  • Masters players pass the ball much better than young fellers. Mainly because it’s easier than running! Long fast break passes, however, are usually accompanied by an “ouch” or groaning sound of some sort.
  • Few masters players wear baggy shorts that come down below the knees. Takes too much energy to lift the knees…if we ever get into a situation in which knee-lifting is required.
  • The older the player, the less the feet move on defense, but the harder the hand-checks become. Driving the hoop against a really old player is like running through a threshing machine.
  • Unlike high school players, masters players often don’t WANT to get off the bench.
  • Pre-game nutrition is a different animal. For example, the pre-game breakfast of one of our players this year comprised a plastic container of cold, leftover, hot-sauce chicken wings that had laid on his hotel room floor all night…washed down with some hotel-room coffee. A pre-game meal, by another teammate took place during our normal warmup period and consisted of a club sandwich, fries and a beer. For some reason, he felt sluggish during the game that started 20 minutes later.
  • Apparently, the lifespan of a masters players basketball shoes is 20-30 years. Those sissy high schoolers want a new pair every year!

Masters basketball can indeed be a different game. Ninety per cent of us have realized that we may not make the NBA, but the game keeps us fit and happy and provides a great reason to get together. Having the skills to play, even as we age, is one of the fruits of the physical education and school sports programs we experienced when we were young.

And providing the opportunity for such play for future masters “athletes” is definitely one of the goals of today’s physical educators. Keep up the great work, everybody!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]masters,basketball,physical education[/tags]

Kyrie Irving’s “Uncle Drew” Stands Up for Old Basketball Players

Kyrie Irving

I play old-men’s pickup basketball with a crew that meets every Tuesday night during the winter. Our oldest members are in their 60’s and have been partaking of this weekly ritual for decades. But there are also some younger guys in their 20’s who play with us.

Of course, there is some friendly trash-talking about old men and their ability to play the game (usually coming from the old men themselves). So, when I came across this video, I immediately sent it to my crew (immediately after I stopped laughing, that is).

It shows rookie NBA sensation Kyrie Irving in an amazing makeup job that makes him look like he’s in his 60’s or 70’s. When a player in a game of playground basketball gets “hurt,” Kyrie is convinced to take his place. The opponents are a group of cocky 20-something hotshots who don’t like the idea of playing against an old man.

The results are hilarious and some of “Uncle Drew’s” moves are amazing. I’ll be trying them all next year (not!).

I don’t know how many of the people in the video were aware that it was a setup (I’m pretty sure I saw NBA great, Clyde Drexler, standing on the sidelines), but it’s funny regardless. And for you PE teachers and basketball coaches who have to listen to trash talk from your students about your declining hoops skills – well, send them this video!

Check out the video here:

P.S. This is the final blog before the summer holidays. There won’t be a blog over the summer (who’s going to read it anyway), but we’ll be back in September. Have a great summer vacation! And as you can see, we’re experimenting with a new, cleaner look for the blog. When you come back next Fall, we should have it finalized. I hope you like it.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]basketball,Kyrie Irving,masters basketball,Uncle Drew>[/tags]

Coaches Who “Work the Refs”

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Boo hoo. My favourite teams in the NCAA basketball tournament are gone. My alma mater, Wisconsin, was hammered by my second favorite team, Cinderella squad, Davidson. Then on Sunday, Davidson was beaten by Kansas.

However, an incident in the Stanford versus Marquette game highlighted a coaching tactic that I really hate. The Stanford coach was ejected for walking onto the floor in order to continue complaining about a referee’s call. He had already been warned once about his behavior.

This took place early in the game – with three minutes left in the first half.
While assistant coaches are prepared to take over their team, this was akin to changing a ship’s rudder in the middle of a storm. His team bailed him out – barely. Stanford won on a last-second shot in overtime.

While I respect coach Trent Johnson’s sincere apology in the post-game interview, this incident brings attention to a form of coaching behavior that I truly dislike.

Many coaches, at all levels and in many sports, now feel they aren’t doing their job unless they are “working the refs.” The thinking is, if they complain enough about every questionable call, they’ll get some “make up” calls later in the game.

The result is a constant stream of complaints aimed at the officials…from the same builders of character who preach composure to their athletes.

They might indeed get an extra call here or there. But they also risk losing credibility with the officials when they really DO have a legitimate complaint.

However, the biggest drawback is the message they are sending their athletes. They tell them not to whine and sulk and complain after a bad call. Then they go ahead and do it themselves. It’s a mixed message and one that makes it difficult to develop positive behavior among young athletes.

One reason for this trend? The television attention that coaches get when they are performing their referee rants. It’s a not-so-subtle form of approval for their poor behavior.

Just let the athletes play the game.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]March Madness,NCAA, tournament,sports,sport,basketball,sports, referees[/tags]

Small Universities and March Madness

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This is one of my favorite weekends in sports…the first weekend of March Madness. There are so many games televised that I don’t have to leave my LazyBoy for three solid days. I usually get the chance to cheer for my alma mater (Go Wisconsin!) – at least for a few rounds of play. And this is the weekend for upsets, Cinderella teams and universities you’ve never heard of.

And that’s the benefit of sport for many of these smaller schools. It puts their name on a national stage for a few days. It gives them name recognition and, through the “halo effect,” provides an an impression of excellence to prospective students and donors . The subconscious thinking is, “Heck, if they’re good at one thing (basketball), they’re probably good at other things too (like academics).”

Here’s a guide to some of the small, lesser-known schools who have made it to the “big dance.” It’s organized by size of enrollment. Do you know the location of every school?

Davidson College, 1700 Students, Davidson, North Carolina
Mount St. Mary’s, 2100 students, Emmitsburg, Maryland
Sienna, 3000 students, Loudonville, New York
Butler, 4437 students total, Indianapolis, Indiana
Belmont University, 4500 students, Nashville, TN,
Drake, Des Moines, IA, 5000 students
Winthrop, 6292 total students, Rock Hill (Near Charlotte), South Carolina
Xavier, Cincinnati, OH, 6646 students.
Gonzaga, 6736 Students – Spokane Washington
Austin Peay, 9105 students, Clarksville, TN (45 minutes NW of Nashville
Vanderbilt, 11,847 students, also in Nashville,
UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore Country), 12,041 students, Baltimore, MD,,

Compare their enrollments with Michigan State’s 46,000 students.

The hotbed of small schools in the tournament seems to be the Nashville area, with Vanderbilt, Belmont and Austin Peay, all in or near the country-music capital.

And who is this year’s Cinderella team? It seems to be Davidson, who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by beating Georgetown (enrollment 6500).

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]March Madness,NCAA, tournament,sports,sport,basketball,sports[/tags]

An Unreported Concussion Can Cost You an Entire Season…or Your Entire Career

Here’s a video that discusses concussions and the necessity of reporting head injury symptoms right away. Athletes are often taught that they have to “tough it out” when injured, but unlike many other injuries, playing with a concussion can cost an athlete their entire season…or their career.

I like this video – because it’s the personal story of a female basketball player, it shows that concussions can be experienced by anybody in any sport, not just by males in contact sports such as football or hockey.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]concussions,concussion effects,concussion videos,concussion education>[/tags]

Florida Gulf Coast – A Lesson for Small-School Teams Everywhere


Coaches everywhere, you don’t need the most talented team in the world, nor do you need to be the biggest school in your area to be successful and make a legitimate run when it comes to playoff time.

All you need is a team of hardworking individuals who buy in to your concept and are willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team.

To people watching sports, never sleep on the little team that could.

Take Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA basketball tournament this year. Anyone who says they knew about this school before this year is either from Florida or lying.  Now, everyone is talking about them and for good reason.  They became the seventh 15 seed in NCAA history to upset a two seed and the first 15 seed ever to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.

This teams rise has been something out of Hollywood, think Hoosiers but more athletic.

The Eagles have only been eligible to compete in the NCAA tournament for four years; their coach is a self-made millionaire who gave it all up for a coaching stint at Florida Gulf Coast.  The best player on the team is named Sherwood Brown who started his career as a walk-on.

They upset number two Georgetown, a team boasting more size and athleticism, by simply running them off the court.  It’s too bad “Lob City” was stolen by the LA Clippers because that would be a fitting nickname for this squad.  Phenomenal alley-oops and put back dunks are a staple in this team’s offense.

It was same story, just a different versus against San Diego State the number seven seed.  Setting the tables for the most unexpected rivalry game in recent memory as Florida Gulf Coast was set to play Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.  Interestingly enough, Florida Gulf Coast had requested to play Florida at the beginning of this year and had been turned down.  Bad move Billy Donovan, I suspect that will no longer be the case.

Alas it finally struck midnight for this Cinderella as they were beaten by cross-state juggernaut, Florida.  This cannot take away from the unexpected run that captured a nation’s attention and made every small school believe that, given the opportunity, in a one-and-done situation, that anything is possible.

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Ian Morse, Guest Columnist
Ian Morse is a former player with the Laurentian University and Cambrian College basketball teams. He’s about to graduate from the Cambrian College journalism program.
PE Update.com

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Physical Education Update

[tags]basketball,NCAA basketball tournament,Florida Gulf Coast,March Madness>[/tags]