Why Do You Y-Ball
February 27, 2014
“Y-Ball is life,” sophomore Doyeop Kim said.
Y-ball is the popular abbreviation for the local Piedmont Family YMCA youth basketball program. Offering sports and recreation for toddlers to older adults, the local Y-ball scene has attracted more and more Albemarle students over the years.
“A lot of the ninth graders last year played it so we decided to make a team this year,” Kim said.
Y-ball is not your average sport. While the basketball rules stay the same, almost every other aspect of Y-ball is different from a high school sports team. For the most part, fun is the recurring theme and the number one feature that attracts students.
Senior Autumn Eavey says that when playing Y-ball, you can do whatever you want. “I take naps at practice,” Eavey said. “I lay on the gym floor. Our team plays knockout, we’re lucky if we even run at all. We listen to music and dance.”
Because the tone of Y-ball is so relaxed, Eavey says there is a difference in how competition is played out. “Who cares if you lose,” Eavey said. “Actually I like to win, but it’s not a big deal.”
To say that there is no competition in Y-ball is an overstatement. The YMCA simply has set rules to give players more advantages and benefits when on the court. “Everyone gets equal minutes so there’s no fighting over playing time. And the refs aren’t as strict as they would be normally,” Kim said.
“Sometimes we practice. There’s this one team we want to beat, but we’re actually better than them, so this year we didn’t have to practice that much,” Eavey said. “[We do] mostly games more so than drills. And dance parties.”
Guidelines on player conduct also seem to be quite lenient. “People do silly plays that would not work out in an actual basketball game,” Kim said. For example, some people hike the ball in bounds. “You can kind of trip people and get away with it,” Kim said slyly.
And the fun in Y-ball doesn’t stop with its leniency on basketball rules. There is only one practice a week after school and one game on the weekend. “It gets you some exercise at least two days a week,” Kim said.
Even from a coach’s standpoint, Y-ball is pure recreation. Roger Martin coaches Kim’s Y-ball team, The Trojans, named after a pre existing volleyball team. “I think it is MUCH “lower key” than a high school team – we only ‘practice’ once a week, and that is more of an organized scrimmage than the conditioning, skills work, plays, etc. that you need to have with a high school team,” Martin said.
“In my opinion, this is great way to get to play ball a couple of times a week through the winter, without a huge time commitment.”
In response to Y-ball’s new popularity, Kim says that in the past, most people didn’t know you could organize your own team. “The whole process of making a team and playing games, you’re always with your friends and it’s the ten people that are closest with you at school,” Kim said.
Eavey has a similar story of joining Y-ball two years ago. She played basketball for Albemarle as a freshman and sophomore, until she and her teammates decided to try something new. “A bunch of us used to play for AHS and then we all quit, so we were all like ‘Let’s go start a Y-ball team,’” Eavey said.
And from the start, Eavey says she learned “how to take something not so seriously, how to have fun.” Her team, the C’ville 69ers, has a certain play called money “where Emily McAllister takes a shot from half court.”
This season has been Eavey’s last year on a Y-ball team because she’s a senior, and in response, she encourages other high schoolers to get friends together and join a Y-ball team. “Who cares [if you don’t know much about basketball],” Eavey said. “It’s still fun, and you pick it up really fast. We had a girl, who played soccer, and she plays on our team, and she’s not bad. Every skill comes in handy.”
Martin explains that Y-ball provides students with camaraderie and sportsmanship, similar to high school teams; however, it leaves out the pressure to win. “It’s fun to be on any team, especially with friends, and this is a way to do that.”