I fell in love with basketball when I was a very little girl of six or seven, maybe even younger. I still love it and plan to play a game of HORSE with RM this week-end if the weather cooperates. If you don’t know what HORSE is, I am sorry because you have missed out. I have probably played a thousand rounds of HORSE in my lifetime. Such fond memories of time spent with my dad out on the concrete basketball court shooting hoops. He always had a court poured immediately, at each house we lived in, before he thought to remodel the bathrooms or applying a fresh coat of paint.
Basketball was a big deal for my dad and for our small Kansas town. The grownups started us early learning to dribble, pass and do layups from either side (left or right). I played with my brother and their friends which improved my game considerably. I practiced all the time on our court and started playing on teams as soon as that was an option. Coach Groves focused on the fundamentals and we practiced those skills over and over again until we mastered them. We didn’t have select teams back then but Dad would get the keys for the Jr. High gym so we could get in and shoot around during the summer and on school breaks. He challenged me to make 25 free throws without missing and I eventually developed such an accurate shot that I was asked by coach to shoot most technical foul shots for my hometown team. Older girls from the high school team mentored us early on and we scrimmaged against them when we were in middle school.
My dad paid for me to go to basketball camps during the summer where I developed my skills even further and also made new friends and learned from other girls. These camps were held on university campuses. It was a blast but I don’t know if I have ever been as tired as I was after a week of basketball practice all day long for a week. And the blisters on my feet proved it.
But what I now appreciate from the years I spent playing point guard is what it taught me for life. I played and learned to:
- be physically active and fit
- develop life skills like leadership and resiliency
- have fun and provide for emotional well-being
- be with my friends (boys and girls)
- be on a team
Playing basketball helps young girls learn basic coordination and team-building skills with an added bonus of making new friends along the way. My father and I have passed the love of the game onto my family as we are in the middle of March Madness with our beloved University of Kansas Jayhawks on the road to the Elite 8.
So if you have a young girl in your life, pump up a basketball, find a basketball court, and play a game of HORSE with her. It may change her life, like it did mine. Thanks, Dad.
RULES of HORSE
H-O-R-S-E is a game played by two people on a basketball court. The idea of the game involves matching baskets. The player who makes shots that the opponent does not duplicate, wins the game. Example: The second person shooting must duplicate the first person’s shot, if it is made. If the second shooter misses, he/she receives the letter “H”. If the first person’s shot is missed, the second shooter may attempt any shot. If his/her shot is made, the opponent is obligated to duplicate it. Each time a shooter misses a shot that he/she attempted to duplicate, a letter is “awarded”. The game continues until one person accumulates 5 letters or H-O-R-S-E. The Rules 1. The person who will shoot first will be determined by coin flip or basket shot. 2. Shots can be attempted from anywhere on the court. No dunking or stuffs. 3. Shots may be “slop” shots or “called” shots. “Called” shots must be made as the call indicates or counts as a miss. “Called” shots must be called before the shot. “Called” shots are as follows: a. Bank – off backboard and into basket, may touch rim. b. Bank Swish – off backboard and into basket without touching rim. c. Straight In – must go into basket without touching backboard or rim. d. Swish – directly into basket without touching backboard or rim. e. Opposite Hand – if shooter is right handed the shot is attempted with left hand and vice versa. f. Jump Shot – both feet off court when ball is released. g. Set Shot – both feet in contact with court when ball is released. h. Hook Shot – ball is released in arch over the body. 4. Trick shots involving spins and ball movement prior to release are not allowed. 5. No shot may be attempted twice in a row from the same spot to give the opponent 2 consecutive letters. 6. All games will be self-officiated on the honor system. 7. Match – best 2 out of 3 games.