Recreational Rivalry: Rec basketball participants enjoy competition, camraderie

Mitch Sundquist, Staff Writer

When the weather turns cold and snow starts to fall, spending your weekends around a !re and on a couch seems like the ideal thing to do. But some Blue Valley students spend at least an hour of their Sunday in a stuffy gym playing recreational basketball instead.
Students in the Blue Valley District form teams to compete in the Blue Valley Recreation Basketball League. The games are played on Sundays at various BV middle schools and are available to students in any grade level.
Senior Matt Lewis, who plays for the Gumeez, said he began playing recreational basketball with his friends for the social aspect.
“I was hoping to make some wonderful friendships,” Lewis said. “Not only with my great team, but with all the fans who support me.”
Lewis said he was able to form a team with his friends and has bonded with them over the past three seasons.
Lewis said he also uses recreational basketball as a chance for him to showcase his talents.
“For me personally, it’s like I’m LeBron [James] playing against a [Division 3] college and just taking my team all the way,” he said.
Lewis said he enjoys the laid-back nature of his team, which he refers to as “a group of characters.”
“No one seems to take it seriously, but that’s why it’s fun,” he said. “It’s not only about winning but also having fun.”
Senior Maddie Kreamer, who plays for the Ratchets, said she enjoys recreational basketball because it doesn’t require a large commitment.
Kreamer, who played basketball for the school for three years, decided to play recreational in order to have time for her job and her social life.
“[Recreational] basketball always looked really fun, so I just wanted to play my senior year with all of my friends,” she said. “I still have time for a job and other activities.”
Kreamer said she is looking forward to playing with close friends, despite their lack of basketball experience.
“Most of them haven’t played since middle school or at all,” she said. “But I’m with most of my best friends, so it’ll be fun.”
Kreamer said she is also looking forward to bonding with her teammates. They plan to have team dinners all season where they will load up on carbohydrates in preparation for their game that week.
Although recreational basketball is played for fun, there is plenty of competition among teams in the league.
Senior Danny Kralicek, a member of the team Swoll Train, said there is no shortage of competitive spirit in the recreational basketball league.
“There is a lot of messing around but also competitiveness at the same time,” Kralicek said. “No matter the circumstances, no one really enjoys losing.”
Kralicek began playing recreational basketball his junior year, after playing for BV his freshman and sophomore years.
“I just wanted to have a lot of fun playing with and against my friends,” he said. “I still love playing basketball, so I decided I should play [recreationally].”
Lewis said the Gumeez and Swoll Train teams formed a rivalry over the years. However, he said he isn’t too concerned, as the Gumeez are sure to win.
“Even though we’d kill them, they’re our only competition in the league of scrubs,” Lewis said.
Contrary to Lewis’ thoughts, Kralicek said Swoll Train is the superior team in the rivalry.
“It’s hard to consider it a rivalry because we are going to absolutely obliterate them,” Kralicek said. “They might have to throw in the white flag at halftime.”
The Gumeez and Swoll Train squared o” on Jan. 6, with Swoll Train winning handily 76-50. The Gummeez will have their chance for redemption on Feb. 24, when the two teams will play again at 6:30 p.m. at Blue Valley Middle School.
Lewis said as the grind of the school year hits him, he is thankful to have recreational basketball as a way to release stress.
“It really helps me get through the year,” he said. “It makes my year just a little brighter knowing basketball is coming.”