Recreational hoops become serious

The Dirty Birds face off against Wet Ballz in a recent GABL game.

Jake Anderson, Sports co-editor

Recreational basketball is not just recreational anymore.

The Greater American Basketball League (GABL) is intense. Teams from all over the sunflower district compete for dominance at the non-6A high school level. The league was established in 1974

There are six teams from Olathe South, two from Shawnee Mission East and one from both Olathe East and Olathe Northwest.

There are 10 games in the season and all of them are played at Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission Northwest or Shawnee Mission West.

“It’s a really competitive setting, especially when you know people from the team that you are playing against,” Andy Kunz, senior, said

In this league, three pointers fly, flashy passes are thrown and smack talk is given. This is all game long and even continues off the court into heated twitter fights.

In games, scoring has been as high as 81 points (scored by an ONW team) and as low as 33 points (scored by an OE team).

Team Green from Olathe South holds the highest points scored in a game by an Olathe South team, with 74 points.

“It’s the greatest league in America,” Matt McFarland, junior, said. “It’s really fun and intense.”

To have the opportunity to play in GABL, a team needs at least five players or at most 12. Also, the entry fee is $155 per player.

This is a little on the expensive side, but the money goes toward jerseys, renting out gyms and paying the referees. Nearly half of the officials have officiated games at the JV and varsity level. Sadly, other refs are not as good as these ones.

“Some refs are terrible, awful and bad,” McFarland said. “There’s no other way to describe them.”

Despite the sometimes sub-par officiating, fun is still an understatement.

It is a rule of the league that every team has an adult that is at least 21 years old on the bench. This doesn’t mean they are the coach.

Teams either have no coaching from their adult or some help with management. For the most part, teams figure out rotations by themselves.

“I’d rather have a real coach,” Kunz said. “It’s good to have someone make the tough decisions and have a good rotation of players.”

Some teams have their friends be their coaches. An adult is still on the bench with the team however.

McFarland agrees with Kunz saying that he’d rather have a real coach and not a kid coach for management purposes.

GABL is a league that is only meant for fun. It has a competitive atmosphere to let the players do whatever they want and play with and against their peers.