Imagine that you played basketball with the whole team on the playground almost every day. You were responsible for bringing the ball, and you took that responsibility seriously, so the first thing you will do before the game is pick up the ball and press it, bounce it a few times to test the action. Usually you decide that the ball needs a little shot of air, one or two immersions in the pump of the bike to which the needle is attached. A lot of people probably won’t notice the difference before and after, but you know it’s important.
At times, you may lose the needle attachment for the pump and never seem to have time to replace, but no matter, you still have a perfectly good basketball.
For a while, however.
Over time you realize that when you dribble, you need more energy than usual to get the ball back in your hands. Still, everyone wants to play, and let’s just say that now that little needle attachment is scarce or expensive, so you keep showing off with less than the ideal ball.
That’s good. Of course, the missed shots, as opposed to the rim and bounce pass, seem to skid under the hands of the motivated recipient, but if anyone comes close and sees what the gang is doing, they will say you are playing basketball.
The games go on, and every time you pick up the ball you realize you want to replace the needle attachment, but to be honest, sitting there in the corner of the garage the basketball still looks like basketball, and when you go to the playground, you still do things like basketball.
Perhaps you don’t need needle attachment after all?
OK, the ball is deflated enough now that you can no longer dribble with one hand, so you have to use both hands to throw the thing over and over again. Basically Basketball
With this ball, obviously double dribbling can’t be applied, so you change the rules to do it. Now when people drive and see what you are doing, they recognize the elements of basketball, but also think that you must not know the real rules of the game and they think what is wrong with the world that people do not know how to dribble basketball anymore.
Over time, even two-handed slam dribbles become very taxing, so you skip trips. The ball is no longer round but rectangular, with flat spots on each side. Now that there is no dribbling, it is impossible to steal the ball in defense without a foul, so body contact is increased as the defender tries to move the partially deflated basketball away from the occupant.
The shape and weight of the ball makes shooting from anywhere other than the bottom of the basket almost impossible, so offenders heave the ball into the opponent’s basket, towards the shoulder, into the players until they are in a position to toss the ball through the hoop. Defenders try to remove the ball, but it becomes too difficult even within the relaxed standards of body communication, so it is decided that tackling is now allowed.
Although the game is played on a basketball court, using a ball that once served as a basketball (but not anymore), it is different enough now that you give it a name, like a super slam ball, and for a while, it’s a kind of The novel, and you and the other players will tell themselves and the world that Super Slam Ball is actually as great as a cross between basketball and rugby. It’s a lot harder than both, if you think about it, dealing with the blacktop and shooting the rectangular ball through a hoop. Surviving, winning or losing a Super Slam ball game is really a badge of honor.
Of course, where you played basketball all day, switching as new players came on the field, you could only collect one Super Slam ball game every few weeks, because let’s face it, it takes a while to heal. Starting with tackling on the blacktop, and finding a lot of new people interested in the Super Slam ball, it was hard to find.
But since this is the only game, those who want to play something are still present, but over time, fewer and fewer people join and more people leave than soon to start.
Eventually someone was able to acquire one of those needle attachments for the bike pump and decided to turn the Super Slam ball back into basketball. The work is a little difficult. Where it takes a maximum of two or three pumps to get the ball to the right inflation before, it takes 20, 30, 40 or more. You keep testing the ball every 10 or more pumps to see if it is good enough and one of those times, even though you know it’s not quite right, you take it to the playground.
It reminds you of the old days, but it is not good because the ball does not swell properly. When you return the ball to the corner of the garage, you notice that the rubber seal around the place where the pump suite is inserted is brittle and cracked, and if you press the ball, a small puff of air escapes.
The next time you go to play, you’ll notice that the basketball looks a lot like a super slam ball, and you’re arguing that it will take another 40 or 50 pumps to re-emerge. And the thing is going to deflate anyway.
Almost everyone agrees that basketball is superior to super slam ball, but no one wants to raise money for a new basketball, so as sad as it may seem, and as much as people miss basketball, the only way to get ahead is to stick with super slam ball and Say basketball, because if you want new players, you have to promise them basketball.
I don’t know if the idea that public higher education basketball has been transformed into super slam or that it was ever basketball is an illusion, a pure intentional thought.
All I know is that we can’t pretend that what is happening is basketball when in reality it is a super slam ball.
Institutions have missions, but in many cases, the way they work, the way they are funded, does not actually put many students in debt and is inconsistent with achieving those missions without reducing faculty and staff.
I don’t think it’s too late to have this kind of conversation that helps establish the underlying shared values and beliefs of the mission, but we have to acknowledge what’s actually happening and that basketball is no longer basketball.