Black and White Balling: An Observation

Alojuwan Trail, IUP

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is a predominately white institution (PWI); however, it wouldn’t seem that way on the basketball courts. I bet on most campuses there is still some obvious socially segregated norms and in my years attending IUP I realize how diverse groups operate. The basketball courts serve as a microcosm for the entire issue of integration in the higher education system as a whole. When it comes to playing pickup basketball here on campus, most Black guys in the gym are either from Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. One would expect for there to be some type of rivalry games between the rival cities, but not many have occurred in that fashion.

The court is separated into two sides. On the black side of the HUB gym’s court, its apparent that most of the rivalries come from guys who are from the same backgrounds. Arguments always start up and this is usual in competition on the court, but it never gets too bad because we are all there to play ball. Although, some arguments may even go on for 10 minutes or more during games and it gets annoying after a while for everyone. We all just want to play but we always respect the duration of the argument until a conclusion is met. White players tend to keep things “fair” and may seem a little passive at times when debates erupt but they too argue with the best of them. It’s interesting to see different backgrounds clash because things get resolved much more quickly and end up in favor of the minority groups. It’s weird but it always seems to happen that way, perhaps this is a small way for for white players to avoid the “racist” title despite living with the benefits of a global white supremacist system.

When the white guys step on the court they are very respectful and their game is respected, of course. Furthermore, most of the time they mainly play with their own five for full court with their own race, however if a team needs a guy they won’t mind to run on another team. The segregation is there, but it's faint and everyone gets along as they remain separate, waiting patiently for their turn to play. Occasionally, your turn may get skipped by overzealous players that know others will back them up when they say it’s their turn to play, but it comes with the territory. The HUB gym is split with two basketball courts: one with more talent and competition and the other called the D-League. So, if you want the thrill of a on court battle I would suggest playing on the more aggressive side, but if you just want to play some ball and have some fun then hit up the D-League.