Pick(up) and roll into the weekend

When the bell rings at the end of school on Fridays, most students and teachers leave the building to immediately begin their weekend. Some, however, head over to the gym to participate in a long-standing CESJDS tradition.

At this time every week, 10 to 20 students and faculty members stay after school for a few hours to play pickup basketball. None of the participants can trace the game to its origin, but continue it anyway.

Math teachers Reuben Silberman and Andrew Goldman, Jewish history teacher Aaron Bregman and health and exercise science chair Steven Forestieri typically participate, leaving six spots for students to play in the first game. According to Goldman, the first six students who show up usually get to play first. If there are between 10 and 15 people, then the winners of a game get to play in the following game as well. When there are over 20 people in attendance, which rarely happens, each game 10 new people play so that everyone gets a turn.

Senior Alex Garber first heard about pickup basketball in eighth grade and started participating in the weekly games during sophomore year.

“As a sophomore not many upperclassmen were playing pickup basketball at the time, so it was a lot easier for me to get time to play,” Garber said.

Garber plays in the pickup games since he enjoys basketball and also because it provides him with the opportunity to form “friendly relationships” with the faculty members who play. Goldman also appreciates the “outside-of-math-class” connection with students.

“I love math, I love teaching and I love math lab, but when you go on a shabbaton with a student, or you go on a field trip with a student or you’re the grade advisor for a student you get a very different experience with them,” Goldman said. “You talk about different things and there’s less stress.”

Not only does it stimulate student-teacher interactions outside of the classroom, but for Goldman, pickup basketball also provides him with a convenient opportunity to play a sport. Goldman said that it is harder to play sports as an adult because he can no longer participate on a school team, so pickup teams are his best option.

“I’m in a soccer league outside with friends that I have and that sort of thing, but just the ability to play a one-sport game every week with some guys that I associate with during the week as well is fun,” Goldman said.

Like Goldman, many other students who participate in pickup do not play basketball on a school or recreational team. Senior Jared Horwitz played on the boys JV basketball team, but did not try out for varsity as a junior. Horwitz knew that he would have a large workload junior year and was worried about balancing the commitment of playing a varsity sport with his academics.

Despite no longer playing JDS basketball competitively, Horwitz remains committed to playing pickup basketball each week.

“We’ve made a tradition of it over the past three years,” Horwitz said. “It is always something that I know I will have at the end of my week and that I look forward to because it will be a time of bonding for me and my friends and my teachers, and a fun time to play basketball.”