By Bill Taylor
March 18, 2014
It seems to me that “shootin” hoops” is not the same as playing a game of basketball - although some folks apparently consider the two activities to be identical. Sure, both involve a basketball and the objective is to put the ball through the hoop, but there’s a heap of difference between them.
Shootin’ hoops in its simplest form consists of two or more participants taking turns shooting the basketball from a set distance in an attempt to put the ball through the hoop. A successful attempt results in a “score” and a running count may be kept. The location of the try and the type of shot (jump, hook, etc) is usually varied with the first successful “shooter” making that determination with the others following. The winner is whichever shooter makes the most baskets.
A more complicated version is a competition using not more than half a basketball court and involving participants divided equally between two “sides.”
The “offense” tries to make a basket while the “defense” tries to prevent this. Play starts with the offense having the ball at half-court. If the offense scores, the sides reverse roles and play starts again. If the defense successfully gains possession of the ball without the offense scoring, roles are reversed with play once again starting at half-court. There are no officials, rules are vague, often changed during the contest and loosely enforced.
“Fouls” do not result in penalties such as foul shots and players cannot be ejected for numerous or flagrant fouls so brute force is often used. This exercise is essentially one of short-term tactics, that is, there is rarely a strategic “game plan” of how to win. In contrast, the game of basketball is played by teams of five on the entire basketball court which requires the players to have the stamina and speed to run almost continually.
The game is much faster with the defense capable of scoring by causing a “turnover” or error by the offense resulting in a “fast break”. In addition, winning requires both a strategic game plan as well as short-term tactics - based on an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of an opponent - and a trained team capable of executing both strategy and tactics. There are other striking differences, such as having rules that don’t change and are enforced, but you get the idea.
Obviously, if a group of folks who have been involved only with “shootin’ hoops” were to engage in a true basketball game against a well trained basketball team, they would be humiliated. It would be no contest. OK, so what’s all this got to do with anything important? Well, the current resident of the White House is well known for “shootin’ hoops” as a form of recreation. While this is a fine activity for an individual, this trait has apparently carried over into his official duties and responsibilities.
The manner in which he has handled the situations in the Middle East, for example, have showed no “game plan”, just immediate tactics - ala “shootin’ hoops.” Remember the “red line” concerning Syria? After our chief executive was made to appear ridiculous, the skilled Russians players ran rings around us and came out the winner.
The mullahs of Iran, exercising their long range plan regarding their development of nuclear energy, have made us look foolish and immature as they got what they wanted while we got nothing.
And don’t forget about the murders in Benghazi. Such amateurish (hoop shootin’) spectacles have made us the subject of such international scorn and ridicule that our influence on the Ukraine crisis and elsewhere on the international scene is approaching zero. The domestic front is no better. The “shootin” hoops” approach has shown up in the IRS scandal, the FBI/ press scrutiny mess, the “fast and furious” debacle, the attempted insertion of government agents into newsrooms, the decision to ignore immigration law regarding illegal aliens, and the list goes on and on - with no fouls ever called.
Perhaps the best example, however, is ObamaCare. This “law of the land” is arbitrarily changed by the Administration without regard for Congress. Make you think of the “rules” and brute force of “shootin’ hoops”? You know, as much as this approach to governing is devastating our country, the really scary thing is the growing concern that our chief executive actually does have a long range plan for “transforming” our country. And, according to the results we are seeing, it sure looks as if it’s working just as he envisioned it. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at email@example.com.