For the love of the game -- Part I: Old-school love

Editor's note: This is the first of a four-part series of columns written by former Bishop Gibbons basketball coach Herb Crossman.

I was running off my mouth about the sport that I love with sports editor Rob Jonas. We were discussing so many things about sports, and during our conversation many memories of what I had experienced in over 40 years of playing, refereeing and coaching kept coming to mind. Our discussion brought me to ask the question: What has happened to the 'Love for the Game?'

Oh, did I forget to mention what sport I was referring to? Well, let me backtrack in time a bit.

The sport I'm referring to is basketball, but I guess it could really be any sport. I believe most young people who play sports today have lost what used to be the pure love of the game.

It used to be that from the time you started playing a particular sport, it became your only addiction; you had to have it every day. You had to be out on the asphalt, ball field, street, park, backyard or wherever you played the game of your choice.

The main thing was that you were playing what you loved to play. It wasn't because you thought you were going to be the next big money player. Heck, you didn't even know how much money your favorite player was making. It was never about the money; it was about the game and being the best when you played. It was just loving to play, while not even thinking about how blessed you were to even be able to play.

It was about getting up early every weekend to get to the park in order to play on the main court before the big boys got there and kicked you off. It was about honing your game so that one day you would be playing with the big boys and then it would be your turn to kick the young boys off the court. It was about respecting your opponent's game but never backing down until you got your respect.

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