Get WRECked

A League of Friendly Basketball Competition

Andrew Botolino , Staff Writer

“Rec ball is a sport of its own” said Senior Ryan Dooley.

Winter upon us, and that means another competitive, thrilling season of basketball from the Barnstable Recreation. The Rec has put together a winter basketball league for high schoolers that has morphed into one of the biggest attractions in town.

For those players that didn’t make a high school team, or just want to play a more relaxed yet still competitive game of basketball, rec ball is perfect. Featuring six teams of 10 to 12 players, the league’s participants are close and have formed rivalries and forged friendships with each other. “I like rec ball because you don’t have to try too hard, but at the same time you do try because you’re playing against your friends,” Cape Cod Community College freshman and former BHS graduate Kostea Andreenko explained.

John Gleason, the Assistant Recreation Director and founder of the program describes it as “a fun league for high-school kids to have a place to play,” and a league that “gives kids a chance to get better.”

This year is Gleason’s first away from the program, as Aquatics Program Coordinator Tim Mcgrath take the reigns of the popular league. But in his time with the rec basketball program, Gleason said he “loved to see the progress the kids make from when they were younger all the way up to high school,” and takes pride in the fact that “the kids can be serious and competitive but have fun at the same time.”

The rec basketball experience is unlike any other, according to a few players. “I play because it’s fun; the people and atmosphere are great,” Senior Ameer Abidshah said, and junior Sean Dooley added, “The rec ball playoff game atmosphere is really surreal.

Senior Kamoy Haye reflects on rec ball as “an art form.” To its participants, the league means a lot, and the competitive fire is truly kindled in them. Haye explained that “only the strong minded” will survive in the league.

The high schoolers appreciate “the most charismatic players,” according to senior Max Joakim. Joakim added that success in the league “is not defined by the talent someone has but instead the effort they display every Saturday.”

That effort and character of the players make the league what it is. Players feel free to be themselves and just have fun playing basketball. Joakim, reflecting on a moment that highlighted the popularity of the league, laughed at the time when “one player wrote Mozgov, the name of a Russian basketball player, on the back of his jersey to show his love of Russian influence on the game.”

The players’ effort during the 11-week season is rewarded at the end of the year, with a chance to play and win the coveted rec ball championship after battling it out all season and playoffs. “We have an East/West format, where the leader in either division gets a first round bye, and the second and third place team in each division play each other, and you go from there.”

At the end of the day, the Barnstable Recreation has created a league that has enormous popularity for its ability to cumulate the perfect competitive yet laid-back mix for a great basketball experience. “It’s just a great atmosphere,” Gleason said. “And we welcome friends to come and hang out and cheer during the season.”