By Katharyn Schrader
It doesn’t have a leader, but it has a steady following. It’s unofficial, but people know about it. It’s not institutionalized, but its participants are consistent. The competition found at Ball So Hard Friday can contend with that of intramurals, and it has never once been advertised.
Sophomore Jordan Lingle and senior Josh Parker stepped off the court to clean up their bloody noses last Friday while senior Jordan Britt explained the gist of BSHF. “You just come with friends and try to stick with them on the court,” he said, his eyes locked on the scrimmage taking place on the court in front of him as it was his turn to sit out of the rotation.
Junior Michael Garza remembers when pickup-basketball games took place in Birchard on Sunday nights in previous years. When he returned to
Olivet after a couple years away, he wondered why no one was playing in Birchard anymore. “You just knew around 7 p.m. on Sunday nights people would be playing. It was always packed,” he said.
Senior Marshall Harris says he and his friends used to attend open gyms on Friday afternoons in Birchard. “It started growing from ten people, to 15 people, to 20 people, and so on until the Perry Center opened and allowed us to get three full courts going, and others waiting in line to jump in … that’s about fifty-something people. It’s going global.”
The official time and place of the weekly open gym is Fridays at 5 p.m. in the Perry Center field house. It was dubbed “Ball So Hard Friday” by Marshall Harris, Brandon Juodikis, Zach Fisher, Andrew Muzljakovich, and Andrew Sayre. Anyone is welcome to play.
At 3 p.m. during the week, the track team practices in the field house, but their Friday afternoon practices never go as late as they do Monday through Thursday. This leaves the basketball courts open for boys who are eager to run, shoot, and sweat off the week’s stress.
Girls on Olivet’s basketball team used to play too, but Britt said although some were pretty impressive, girls haven’t tried competing with the guys this year.
“Ball So Hard Friday is actually competitive,” Garza said. “The guys who come aren’t messing around.”
The amount of blood covered gauze from the First Aid kit last Friday showed it clearly: the boys have a blast at BSHF.
“If I didn’t play ball during the week I’d go crazy,” said Garza, who played in high school and also used to be on Olivet’s men’s basketball team. “It’s my sanity.”