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SPORTS, February 2010, by Karen Demers
Canadian inventor Dr. James Naismith created basketball in 1891 after being asked to invent a new indoor sports activity that can be played during the winter months. The original game was played with only 13 rules with a peach basket hung 10 feet in the air. Not less then a year later women’s basketball entered the scene with some surprising differences.
During this time, it was important in society for women to always maintain an air of femininity NO matter what they were doing – this included basketball. The traditional uniform included corsets, floor-length dresses and heeled shoes. In addition, many of the rules were different so women did not become “overly fatigued” during a game. Senda Berenson, the creator of women’s basketball rules, split the court into three sections and players were only allowed to move within their designated section. Also, grabbing the ball from another player, holding the ball for more than three seconds or doing three dribbles was banned. The following year, the first game under these official rules was played between Berkeley University in California and Miss Head’s School. These rules did not begin to change until 1924 when women were able to self-govern their basketball championships. Over a decade later the three-section basketball court was reduced to two.
Since this time, women’s basketball has continued to boom and rise in popularity. Over a hundred years after its inception, the first women’s basketball event was held in 1976 at the Montreal Olympic Games. In June 1997 the first season of the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) took place.
One of the most celebrated women’s basketball teams of our time is the Edmonton Commercial Graduates (the Grad’s). The team dominated the sport in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Over this time span, the Grad's played a total of 522 games, against both women's and men's teams, and won a remarkable 502 times. GO CANADA GO!
This can range anywhere from playing the odd pick-up game to committing to a team – practicing and playing up to three or four times a week. The choice is yours!
Basketball can start at any age that you’re strong enough to hold a ball in your hands! It’s also never too late to try! Most Provincial Associations have programs in place to teach youth as young as four how to play. However, most people get their first taste of the game in elementary school gym class.
Basketball requires agility, strength, speed and a good set of lungs! Players need to be able to think on their feet quickly and have good accuracy for getting the ball in the net. It’s not true that you have to be tall to play basketball either. It may be an advantage to be closer to the net, but there are many short basketball player who do very well!
You don’t need much to play – good shoes, a basketball and a net. If you are looking to have a game, find some friends and a court at a local park. There’s no better way to spend a Sunday!
For “at home” equipment, a basketball can cost between five and fifty dollars. Really good running shoes can cost you under a hundred. A portable basketball net can cost anywhere from 200 to 500 hundred dollars depending on the quality and brand. To join a house league team, membership fees will start at about $100 and go up from there. It is best to contact your local basketball club and speak to someone directly if you’re interested in getting involved on a team.
All Net: When you get a basket and the ball doesn't touch the rim, but goes in perfectly and just touches the netting.
All Day: If a player can consistently make a shot, it is said that he can make it "all day".
Dunkadelic: A way to describe a powerful or amazing dunk.
Trifecta: A three-point basket.
Windex Man: In professional basketball the backboards are usually made of clear plastic, so when there is a player who is a strong rebounder he/she is given this name.
Why others should consider basketball
Basketball is a great sport to get involved with for many reasons. It helps to teach teamwork, being assertive and achieving the shot. It’s great exercise over the winter months and a great way to meet new people. Basketball can be played competitively or just for fun! You can also modify the game so everyone can play!
Kim Smith, originally from Surrey, British Columbia, is one of the few professional Canadian players in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) league. Currently, Kim is a forward for the Phoenix Mercury. Her career took off when she attended the University of Utah and became the first female to have her jersey - number 4 - retired. During this time she received many titles including the Mountain West Conference “Player of the Year” from 2003 to 2006.
Tamara "Tammy" Sutton-Brown, originally from Markham, Ontario is also a Canadian professional women's basketball player in the WNBA. Currently she is playing center for the Indiana Fever. Tammy’s potential was noticed at an early age and in high school she was rated by the Toronto Star as Canada’s top female basketball prospect. She attended Rutgers University and was drafted in 2001 into the WNBA by the Charlotte Sting. The following year Tammy was selected to participate in the WNBA All-Star Game becoming the first Canadian player to accomplish this honour. In 2004 Tammy became the Sting’s all-time leader in blocks – rated second overall in the WNBA.
Tammy and Kim continue to play in the league and give Canadian Women’s basketball player’s a good name!
February 2010 - Partners
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Karen Demers, high fives, basketball, feel like you…only better, Canadian inventor Dr. James Naismith created basketball in 1891, 13 rules with a peach basket hung 10 feet in the air, Berkeley University, 1976 at the Montreal Olympic Games, Edmonton Commercial Graduates, All Net, all day, dunkadelic, trifecta, windex man, Kim Smith, Tamara "Tammy" Sutton-Brown