Nothing worth having ever came easily. This typically isn’t a phrase you’d be likely to hear from the coach of a 2-14 junior varsity basketball team in Easthampton, Massachusetts. But this isn’t a typical JV basketball story. Long, and I mean LONG story short, I was one of three seniors in my graduating class in high school who were allowed to play JV basketball during our senior year. The first three in the history of our school. I played JV for two years, and I’d like to give some advice to any current or future JV ballers who might need a pick me up if they find themselves playing JV ball their senior year.
1. It doesn’t get better. If you’re playing JV basketball as a senior, you should think about taking your life in a new direction. It’s fun while it lasts, but it doesn’t pay the bills and most JV basketball teams don’t offer a 401K plan or health insurance.
2. Your dad isn’t going to be proud of you. It’s OK. It’s something all JV ballers need to come to terms with. A 2015 statistic showed that 62% of dads of JV ballers were disappointed in their sons and often showed up to the games not out of love, but because they wanted to see their sons fail.
3. Beware of the lifestyle. It can take a while for you to adjust. Sex, drugs, and JV basketball. I’ve seen too many great JV ballers be taken over by the crazy world of “sex” and drugs. Don’t show up high to practice. Unless you want to. It’s really not that big a deal. It’s JV basketball…SIKE! JV BALL IS LIFE. Never forget that.
4. Shouting “STEPH CURRY!” as you heave a shot from half court doesn’t make you a better basketball player. It can, however, increase your vocal range. I’ve seen a lot of JV ballers in my life who suffered from Steph Curry Syndrome make it in the world of musical theater. This might seem a strange departure from the world of sports, but in theater, projection and vocal range is everything. If you’re questioning your career in JV basketball and you also enjoy screaming Steph Curry’s name into the great abyss that is the high school gymnasium, then I’d say take a theater class, my friend.
5. The final and most important piece of advice, and the advice I always tell young men looking to get into the world of JV basketball is that it’s you against the world out there. You’re Russell Westbrook and that 5"2 kid you’re playing against is just an ant whose hill you’re out to destroy. Being a JV baller means being a warrior. Being a JV baller means being a bleeder.
In the end, being a JV baller as a senior means your work is mediocre. Take pride in that mediocrity. Take pride in the fact that your ankle hurts so you can’t participate in sprints. In these tough times, we need more JV and less Varsity.
Best of luck out there-