Basketball has always been a part of the YMCA’s history

Published 8:48 am Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Editor’s Note: This column is written by Emory Smith, a YMCA staff member.

In 1891, James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, was given the task of coming up with a new game that would provide a “athletic distraction” for students to play indoors. His supervisor wanted a game that would help keep track-and-field runners in shape and would be relatively safe to play.

On Dec. 2, 1891, Naismith nailed two peach baskets to the walls of the gymnasium. The students were told to use a soccer ball and try to score by landing the ball in their team’s basket. The game was called “basket ball.”

The first game wasn’t quite as high scoring as today’s game. Because it hadn’t been thought of to knock the bottoms out of the peach baskets for the balls to fall through, it took a person on a ladder to retrieve the ball from the basket after a score. Players had to stand in place and pass the ball (dribbling was added to the game at a later time). The first game ended in a 1-0 score.

The sport became an instant success at YMCAs. Its popularity quickly grew nationally and internationally. Although Naismith never saw the game develop into the spectacular game we know today, he had the honor to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

Because of its YMCA origins, basketball has always been a big part of the YMCA. At the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA, for the first time ever, we have created a 3-on-3 Adult Basketball League!  League 1 is an Open Division for ages 18 and over, meaning players of any age over 18 can be on a team. League 2 will be a “30 and over League” where all players must be at least 30 years of age. Teams will have a maximum of five players. The season will run through August 27, with a tournament to end the season. Registration is ongoing now at the Y, so form your teams and come get signed up!

We are also hosting a Youth Basketball Academy this summer that begins June 16. The Academy will focus on teaching basketball fundamentals to kids of all skill levels. There will be several coaches involved and all players will receive one-on-one instruction as well as team drills.

Come register at the Y now! Call Jim Holton at (229) 243-0508 for more information.

Emory Smith is a staff member at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.