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New game dribbles into town

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Junior Myles Cranmer shoots the ball as sophomore Carter Cluck defends him.

Junior Myles Cranmer shoots the ball as sophomore Carter Cluck defends him.

Seth Nickell

Seth Nickell

Junior Myles Cranmer shoots the ball as sophomore Carter Cluck defends him.

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Basketball is not a sport that can be played at a high level by most people. With a large court and 10 foot high goals, the conditioning and art of making a shot are only a couple of the many challenges basketball provides. What if there was a sport that could meet lower expectations, but provide a similar sense of exhilaration as regular basketball? What if anyone could participate in this sport, and each person was able to experience the feeling of dunking the basketball? This game happens to be a weekly occurrence by a group of high school students. We call it “dunkball.”

Dunkball is a game played on a small, concreted court at the Crestview Elementary school playground. It consists of seven and a half feet tall goals on both ends, and all that is needed is a basketball and competitive teenagers. The game begins with the every person piling the court to shoot for captains. The first two to make a shot become the destined captains, and they must proceed to pick their teams. After the teams are picked, the game begins and both squads anxiously play with a tenacious yet amusing mentality. Goal tending is not allowed in dunkball, and each team must pass the ball just like in regular basketball after a made shot or dead ball. Depending on the Panhandle wind, the strategy consists of either finding ways to dunk the ball with high winds, or becoming a shooting team with light winds. The game is played to 11 points, and the winning team must win by at least two points.

What if anyone could participate in this sport, and each person was able to experience the feeling of dunking the basketball?”

— Seth Nickell

Dunkball began last year when four of us decided to go play on the court so we could finally feel what it’s like to dunk. Today, we have about 25 people that come out and play the game.

Junior Payton Smith said he thinks the dunkball group has given him new friends who don’t want to stop playing, even when it gets dark. Players often continue to play even after it gets dark, using their car lights to see the court. 

Most kids that come out and play dunkball are present or past athletes at Canyon. With this being said, I’m guessing anyone can guess how competitive this game becomes throughout the duration of the game. The trash talking slowly begins at the start of the game, but by the end, each team is itching to pull out a win for bragging rights.

Senior Brantley Spinks said the game gets real heated real fast, causing tension and arguments to break out. However, the arguments recede and friendships form as the players hang out together after the game. Spinks said the result has been a new friend group.

Although the status quo may be for only guys to play a game of mostly dunking, this is not the case. This game is for both genders, and the girls have made the guys look bad on many occasions with their ferocious blocks or game-winning dunks.

Sophomore Carter Cluck said her favorite part is the pure fun of dunkball, but she didn’t know what to expect when a couple of friends invited her to play. She said she got out there and played, and now there’s nothing she would rather do on weekends than be surrounded by friends, playing a competitive game of dunkball. 

Sometimes I sit out a game and just watch the competitiveness, smiles on faces, and pure enjoyment of my friends.”

— Seth Nickell

Last but not least, dunkball should not be taken lightly because of the smaller court. The conditioning needed to play dunkball provides a similar conditioning to actual basketball. Running up and down this court is not an easy task.

Senior Josh Castagnetta said the game is fast paced and requires constantly back and forth between the two teams because everyone is going for crazy shots. He said it’s extremely fun and he looks forward to going and spending time with his friends.

Personally, I love the game of dunkball and everything it has given me outside of a fun game. I have built new friendships and grown closer in friendships I already had. Living in a small town, we have to find and create new ways to have fun. I believe we have definitely succeeded in doing so. Sometimes I sit out a game and just watch the competitiveness, smiles on faces, and pure enjoyment of my friends. It’s so rare to see those type of moments in this world today, and I do not take it lightly. Because in a blink of an eye, all of us dunkball kids will go on to college and start our lives and never experience the little things like dunkball again. Cherish every moment right now because one day we will all look back on these memories and wish that we could experience it one more time.

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About the Contributor
Seth Nickell, Staff Reporter

Hey! My name is Seth Nickell, and this is my first year on The Eagle’s Tale Online staff. I am a junior, and I’m involved in football, basketball, baseball, The Business Club, FCA and my church youth group. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, and being involved throughout the community. My passion is sports, and after high school I would love to pursue a career either playing sports, or working in the field of sports. I know academics are key to achieving these goals, so I will continue to work hard on and off the field. I will do my very best to bring the best news possible, and I am ecstatic about this year!

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New game dribbles into town