Dribble, pass, shoot

A look into Washington-Liberty school basketball

Basketball was invented by James Naismith on December 1, 1891, at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Naismith was an instructor in physical education. Basketball is one of the most popular and beloved sports of the world. At the  school, we have three  different divisions of teams, each with male and female versions, freshman, junior varsity and varsity that are selected by grade and skill level. Basketball is played in the winter season. Students are first required to try out for our high school basketball teams. 

Freshman Olivia Cozette started playing basketball in third  grade on a recreational  team called The Lightning Bolts for Arlington Science Focus. She’s been playing basketball since then, on travel for the team Hurricanes. When she came to Washington-Liberty, she was certain she would try out for the team. 

“Ever since I was in elementary school, I’ve always played basketball,” Cozette said. “It’s a sport that I really enjoyed, so I wanted to just try and see what happens.”

Trying out for a sport can be nerve-wracking. This holds many back from even coming to tryouts out of fear of not being good enough or embarrassing themselves in front of their peers. 

“I mean, confidence is always important, but at the same time, I was really anxious,” Cozette said.

Cozette is on the girls junior varsity team this year. She has practices every day with her team after school. On the weekends, the team plays competitive games against opposing teams from other high schools. While being on a team, it’s important to have connections with your teammates. Being on a sports team is a great way to make new friends and strengthen your bonds with them. 

“I think that everyone on the team is really getting along and I’ve gotten along with a lot of them,” Cozette said.

Like many other sports, playing basketball for the school team has changed due to COVID-19. Players have to get tested everyday, have a limited audience attendance to the games, and sometimes have to play with a mask. With the rise of these new specific and strict procedures, many people don’t ask what the players think. But it’s not as bad as people make it out to be, according to Cozette. 

“They make us test daily, which is understandable,” said Cozette. “We can drop our masks if [we] test negative. Since some people have already gotten COVID, they don’t need to get tested for 90 days. Honestly, playing with masks doesn’t bother me too much.”

Despite COVID setbacks, the most important part of being a part of the basketball teams is the practices and staying committed. 

“The commitment is definitely a lot,” Cozette said. “We have practice every single day except Sundays. But it’s still fun.”

At these almost daily practices, they do many drills and exercises. 

“[I like the shooting drill], it’s pretty easy,” Cozette said. “I think this year was probably one of the most challenging ones, because I definitely learned a lot and improved in many different aspects.” 

Freshman Elijah Richardson plays on the freshman boys team. 

“[Being able to meet new people is] what really persuaded me to try out for the team,” Richardson said.

 Richardson started playing basketball at a very young age and found inspiration to play through watching the sport. 

“I started playing basketball when I was in first grade and I fell in love with the game [and players like] LeBron James [and] Kevin Durant,” Richardson said.

Although school sports can be a great way to meet new people, Richardson noted that it’s even better when you already know your teammates. 

“Most of them that I’m playing basketball with on my team currently I’ve already known in the past,” Richardson said. “In terms of my relationships with my teammates, it’s gotten [stronger].”

 Unlike Cozette, Richardson doesn’t know if he has a long-term commitment to the team. 

“I don’t really know if I would say that [I have a long-term commitment to the team],” Richardson said. “I personally like football more. So I’m probably more long-term for football, then basketball.”

This is a common decision many players make especially when time becomes important or they have another sport they want to pursue more. Like Cozette, Richardson has no problem going through extra steps to reduce COVID on the team in order to keep his peers safe.  Although there’s some negatives to the new code, Richardson agrees it’s a necessity to keep everyone safe.

“You know, it’s worth it to play basketball.” Richardson said. “I don’t really mind any of it. To be honest. It’s just [more] steps to go on the court. But personally, I’ve gotten into a relationship and I really want my significant other [to come to] the games.” 

Finally, like Cozette, Richardson loves the feeling of playing the game. 

“You know when you’re given the ball, putting it in the basket,” Richardson said. “It gives me a rush.”


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