Postgame baller bashes and breakdowns

Postgame baller bashes and breakdowns

Eric Wong

When the final buzzer sounds, be prepared for raw emotion


Walking onto the court with a swagger, the varsity boys basketball team goes through a routine process of warm-up activities before the game begins. They are free to do what they like, as some sprawl on the floor and stretch while others lazily jog around the court, dribbling and taking a few shots here and there. 

Closer to game time, the pace quickens. The squeaks of shoes on the polished gym floor and the dull thud of the basketballs become more urgent until the referee signals for all activity to stop. Within moments, the players gather around the coach for a quick cheer. Then, while the starters cast aside their outerwear and line up on the court, the rest of the team finds its seats on the bench.

The game’s ebbs and flows can be seen on the faces of the players — a missed shot creates expressions of disappointment and exasperation while a breakaway or steal prompts screams of encouragement and looks of excitement. 

The final buzzer sounds.  Even without looking at the scoreboard, the result can be clearly seen in all of the players. 

In victory, the boys congregate with pride, brimming with confidence as they saunter off the court.  They laugh together, relive the best moments, and banter with each other about plays they missed.  Then comes celebration, a team dinner where everyone lounges around and develops friendships. 

But the team doesn’t always win. In defeat, I see the ugly side of the boys basketball team.  Frustration consumes the players and transforms them into unapproachable monsters. Many of them are unable to deal with their feelings, and they do nothing but sit and stew until the feeling passes. 

Overjoyed or despondent, I admire these intense emotions that come from the boys basketball team.  Emotion comes from commitment — from putting in the effort at practice everyday — which makes them care about the result.  When that final buzzer sounds, everything comes pouring forth.  Passion always shows.