Students play recreational basketball during winter sports season

For six weeks, teams compete at Okun Fieldhouse every Tuesday for fun and bragging rights

Gabby Delpleash, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

The loud thump of basketballs dribbled against the gym floor. Players in eccentric uniforms bolting across the court. And a few students watching from the sidelines. Playing school sports is a common piece of almost every student’s high school experience. But, just two miles away at Okun Fieldhouse, there is another group of students playing basketball and it’s not for a championship title. They play basketball simply for fun.

Every December, students get together in teams to play basketball against other high schoolers. Games are kept brief; the clock runs for two 20-minute game halves which are separated by a two-minute halftime.

…it feels like we have more fun than some of the other teams do because we don’t take it super seriously.

— sophomore Brynn McGillicuddy

The co-ed rec league, which brackets teams by grade level, can make for matchups where students are to play against teams of the opposite gender. But for sophomore Brynn McGillicuddy, a member of the only girls team in this year’s league, the Pink Pumas, this is not a problem.

“A bunch of the guys in my grade play rec basketball, so we decided we were going to do it too,” McGillicuddy said. “We don’t take it very seriously but it feels like we have more fun than some of the other teams do because we don’t take it super seriously. For us, we’re the only girls team so it’s more of just playing to have a good time instead of trying to score a bunch of points.”

For junior Conner Clifton, the opportunity to play a sport with friends and avoid injury convinced him to join his 10-person rec team, the Shawnee Milkmen. 

“My friend [junior] Jacob Morton asked me if I wanted to play with his team,” Clifton said. “I had no other way to compete through the winter since I’m not doing winter sports so I was open to the idea.”

Senior Zack Kellogg, who used to play school basketball, switched to playing rec ball with his good friends since middle school. The transition allowed Kellogg to make memories he believed he wouldn’t have made had he continued to play school ball.

“School basketball is a big commitment. Rec basketball isn’t really a commitment at all,” Kellogg said. “You just have to show up once a week for six weeks, and that’s about it. It’s a lot less commitment and a lot more fun too.”

Clifton encourages students to try rec basketball, but not necessarily for the athletic aspects.

“Playing rec basketball keeps you physically active, which is good, but it also enhances friendships,” Clifton said. “I’ve just built stronger friendships through it, spending more time with my friends has made us closer. I got at least a little bit better at basketball, but for me, it’s mostly about the friendships.”

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