For many upper classmen in Syosset, springtime means one thing: SBL.
In the Syosset Basketball League, athletes of all skill levels join together with one ultimate goal—to win a championship. SBL is, however, so much more than just your typical recreational basketball league. For those of us who have been playing in SBL for most of our childhood, it has become an influential part of our lives.
Third-grade was our first year participating in SBL. For many of us, it was the first time we were playing a sport at a competitive level. This was an extremely exciting concept to us. The games were played at the elementary schools every Saturday, allowing us to participate in and also watch other games throughout the day. This back-to-back game schedule also gave our parents the opportunity to meet other parents in the district. After the games were over, groups of us would often go out for a meal and continue the socializing that had begun on the courts. Saturdays during SBL season are a special time for youths in Syosset.
Along with its unifying aspects, SBL was, for many, our first opportunity to learn the game of basketball. Under the guidance of parents who coached the teams, we were taught very early on how to shoot, pass, defend and dribble. At the same time, we learned what it meant to be a good teammate and how to show good sportsmanship, regardless of the outcome. Each year, we would have an opportunity to play for a different coach and learn something new about the game of basketball.
Alex Rosen, who will be playing basketball at Elmira College next year, described his experience with SBL.
“I’ve been playing SBL my entire childhood and I still do today,” he said. “Playing all these years has made me a much better player. I learned how to get my teammates involved and make the players around me better.”
SBL is like grade school for basketball. While we all love the excitement and competition that SBL brings, it is the relationships we’ve formed that makes SBL such a central part of our lives. For years, the league has been a hub for friendship and unity.
Sam Moskowitz, a senior at Syosset High School, said that SBL is “the best opportunity to hang out with your friends, forget the stresses of everyday life and just have a great time. I have made so many friends during my time in SBL and have formed unique relationships on the court that have continued off the court.”
Not only does SBL foster friendships, but it also gives shy students an opportunity to express themselves and come out of their shells. In that way, sports can be the ultimate equalizer. At such a young age, basketball was able to bring out the best in everyone and as a result, it allowed us to form friendships that have lasted for years.
As seniors, my friends and I are embarking on our final year of SBL. We know that this season may not only be our last time playing organized sports, but more importantly, our last time participating in SBL with one another. While we may pretend that winning is the most important thing, we know that SBL has served many more important purposes. For these reasons, SBL will always hold a very special place in our hearts.