Jessica Stanley: Basketball is the new yoga
Yoga’s over. Well, all the smugness anyway. Racing to turn up to class on time, having to dress right and stretch right, your teacher’s ‘corrections’ subtly saying “You’re not good enough.” If you’ve found a yoga studio that makes you feel more good than it does bad, you’re much luckier than I am. Me? I don’t want to be alone in a sea of craning, striving strangers, wondering if my thoughts are yogic enough. No thanks! When I exercise, I want to feel on top of the world.
This summer, I found the physical and spiritual bliss I was looking for. And it cost less than Â£8. Basketball!
Alone, basketball is the best meditation. You don’t have to be good at shooting hoops for the process to be smooth and rhythmic, engrossing but still mechanical enough to let thoughts sneak around the edges of your consciousness. If you’re trying to solve a problem, leave your laptop behind; twenty minutes of solo basketball is all you need.
You know how you almost always have a better conversation with someone when you’re walking than you do face-to-face? (It’s why you’re supposed to sit at the bar on first dates instead of opposite each other.) Something about not having to maintain constant eye contact loosens you up; you can riff and free-associate and take conversational risks. Playing some lazy basketball one-on-one I’ve had some of the best and deepest talks I’ve ever had.
And friends, of course – basketball is made for friends. You don’t even have to have teams, and the fewer rules the better. BYO energy drinks.
Of course all that leaping and shooting is great for you, and it’s the best cure I’ve found for Mac back – you know, that horrible scrunched spine that’s a result of endless, hunch-over writing and internetting.
And the outfits! Check out Anabela from fieldguided’s custom kicks. (Vic – your friend and mine, and no slouch when it comes to b-ball – wears classic Chuck Taylors. I favour Ethletic low tops, basically Cons but FairTrade and with arch support.)
Ultimately though, the coolest thing about basketball is that it’s a sport for unapologetic alpha females.
Remember ‘If you let me play,’ that amazing Nike commercial from the 90s? Confident girls of all ages arguing in favour of playing sports.
I like to think of these girls when I unchain myself from the freelancer’s desk and head down to my local court.
Like a cocky strut or proudly prominent tattoo, there’s something about bouncing a basketball down the road that draws attention to you for the right reasons. You can’t shoot hoops without feeling happy and strong.
A woman playing basketball is a woman being a boss.
Don’t believe me? Watch Sigourney Weaver nail this shot behind her back.