The Five Worst Types of Rec League Ballers


Not that you likely care, but I recently reignited my love for playing basketball by joining a local rec league. It’s been great to get out on the court again and realize I’m just as horrible of a shooter as I was back in high school. It’s humbling and comforting, truly. The best part, though, is getting a chance to meet new people. Most rec league players have proven to be fun, laid-back, and amiable. Some bad apples, though, have soured the experience. I try not to judge people too quickly or harshly (that’s not true at all. I love judging people), but these specific players have already started to get on my nerves…

1) The Defensive Specialist
This guy believes Aaron Craft is his spirit animal. He’s out there locking people down as if he’s Tony Allen on MDMA, blissfully unaware that everyone finds him obnoxious. He probably cools down after games by jogging to the local Chuck E Cheese’s and playing competitive skee-ball against terrified children. Listen, there is nothing cool or fun about running a full-court press in a rec league game. Rec leagues are designed to present opportunities for gawky, uncoordinated ballers like myself to showcase embarrassing Hot Sauce impersonations, not for dudes to draw charges and demonstrate textbook defensive stances. “D”-ing people up in a rec league game is about as cool as talking trash and before taking your SATs.

2) The Guy Who Drinks Before the Game
Drinking before every single occasion should’ve stopped being alluring once you became old enough to legally purchase alcohol (okay, so maybe there’s a one-year grace period, but that’s it). There’s that guy, though, who wants to revisit his formative frat-house days by crushing a 40 in the parking lot before every game, utterly perplexed as to why the rest of you aren’t chanting his name is adulation. He’ll end up spewing his swill beer all over the court and laughing about it, because projectile vomiting from alcohol poisoning is clearly always hilarious. He probably uses alcohol as an excuse for his constantly sloppy on-court performance, a way to hide his inability to actually play (or, you know, to hide form his personal demons. Whichever). It’s likely he lobbied for your team to be named “The Busch Hunters” or something equivalently moronic.

3) The Coach
There’s nothing wrong with trying to motivate your teammates, but assuming you have even the slightest semblance of “authority” of a group of guys the same age as you is ridiculous. Nobody joins a rec league because he wakes up one day and realizes, “Hey, you know what? I’d definitely be living a more fulfilling life if I spent more time voluntarily having a sweaty dude scream at me for not hedging on a screen.” Why The Coach thinks he’s being helpful is beyond me. Taking a game seriously is fine, but acting like the bastard love child of Frank Martin and George S. Patton isn’t going to win you any friends. He loves to correct your mistakes but flies off the handle if you point out flaws in his game. He’d be slightly more tolerable if he had the basketball prowess to justify his condescension, but he’s clearly using unsolicited pedagogy to compensate for his lack of ability. Oh, and this guy is always short. It’s true.

4) The Guy Working Through Personal Issues
Rec league games are meant to be a way for dudes to relieve some work-week stress in a fun, competitive, semi-athletic environment. This guy, however, is clearly haunted by his missed free-throw that cost his high school the state championship a decade ago. He has the hollow look of someone unceasingly chased by the ghosts of his past; he sees the games as therapy sessions for confronting unmet expectations as disappointed fathers. His desire to win would be admirable if it wasn’t so, you know, misplaced and pathetic. He considers basketball to be penance. He can be found punching walls after losses, tears of rage gathering in his eyes. You can never tell him he “played hard today” because to him that phrase is some sorta psychological lever that opens a floodgate of repressed memories. After a few consecutive losses, don’t be surprised if you find him suddenly bonding with Guy No. 2.

5) The Nonchalant “Baller”
This guy is the worst. He totally got, like, “hella serious PT” for the varsity squad when he was a sophomore in high school (you know this because he won’t shut up about it), which means that all of you on the court should be thankful, really, that he’s only exuding minimal effort. He acts like he’s doing everyone a service by not dominating the game, which he could, like, totally do if he wanted. Of course, there is no evidence that he is actually talented. He wears a Dwyane Wade jersey because he thinks they’re kindred baller spirits, but his game consists of nothing more than jacking up contested threes and sleepwalking while on defense. He describes his jumper as “wet” because he’s dumb enough to think “wet” is a good descriptor of anything besides water. He exerts the same amount of effort in life as he does on the court, which is why he “makes paper” being the most comically wanksta worker ever employed at Cold Stone Creamery.

Tags: Basketball Featured Lifestyle Popular

  • joshsanchez

    You hit the nail on the head here! NOTHING, and I mean nothing, drives me crazier than the so-called “defensive specialists” in rec league and pick up games.

  • FreeBandz

    1, 3, and 5 is SO TRUE

  • Steve

    80% of pickup players think they’re the best point guard there and demand to ‘quarterback the game’, as well as jack 3 pointers, despite shooting 10% from 3. Biggest guy calls foul on all missed post up shots.
    Beware when game gets to ‘game point’ – strange calls come out of the woodwork – palming, 3 seconds, ball was out of bounds if it’s 3 inches from line etc. and on and on and on

  • William Bohl

    This is pretty damn good. Nice work.