• Chris Davy

S is for... Shy away from

This is one of the reasons I love basketball. You can’t really shy away from things. It makes you make progress. In order to play the game, it demands it of you. Now you will say,

“But Chris all sports do that.”

And I’ll say,

“No mate, no they don’t. Not at all.”

Let me explain. Some sports you might try and make progress. Basketball actually makes you make progress. Throughout the whole game. There is no let up. You don’t have the same freedom of choice of when to act in basketball compared to other sports.

See, in basketball there are so many time-based stipulations it pushes you to act. Which is maybe why some people struggle to be around basketball players, and some basketball players struggle to be around other people. I mean all people struggle to be around all sorts of people until they’ve practiced being around them and got comfortable with it.

*David Attenborough voice*

“But clearly the basketball player responds differently to the pressures of time. Given the several time constraints they must cope with during a competitive exchange.”

In basketball, these are pretty much the time-based rules. And whilst there are variations of the rules all over the world, these are pretty much constant.

(Those of you that know the rules to the n’th degree, take it easy alright. I’m trying to bring a people up to speed on how to play this game. Plus, I’m not a referee. I’m a coach, a player and an average table official. Baby steps and all that. Also, for the record, yeah, I’m a distinctly average player, but I am an awesome coach.) *

*Nice bit of coaching there from me, if I do say so myself.

Basically folks, this isn’t the extensive list of the time-based rules in basketball. But it’s a start.

There is a 3 second rule - Known as ‘three in the key’. Where a player cannot occupy that space on the floor, the key, for longer than 3 seconds. ‘The key’ or ‘the lane’ or ‘the paint’ is that rectangle, with one edge being made up by the free-throw line. Failing to do so gives possession to the other team.

There is a 5 second rule - Where a player must inbound a ball within 5 seconds. Failing to do so gives possession to the other team.

There is an 8 second rule - Where the offensive team must transfer their possession of the ball from ‘back court’ to ‘front court’ within 8 seconds. Failing to do so gives possession to the other team.

There is a 24 second rule - The most well-known of the basketball time-based rules; the 24 second shot clock. A player must shoot within 24 seconds. And yeah, you guessed it, failing to do so will give possession to the other team.

Like I say, this isn’t how it works explicitly. But I’m not an idiot. I don’t want to bore you to death. It’s just a taster. It's basically how it works. In simple terms.

Now yes other sports do have shot clocks. They do have other time-based rules. But and I could be wrong, basketball has this unique combination. A unique combination that naturally pushes the game to progress. No person is making this happen. TIME is making this happen. The rules the game is based around make this happen. Basically, look at it like this:

Get the ball in play (5 seconds).

Get the ball up the court (8 seconds).

Don’t stand in that spot longer than this (3seconds).

Shoot the ball (24 seconds).


“Repeat? When?”

“Now, straight away.”


“Yeah, again, as is now. Whilst you were debating, you’ve just conceded two points.”


“Will you get back on defence and start helping everybody out. Turnover of possession for taking too long to inbound.”


“You’ve just conceded two more points.”

“Hang on.”

“No mate, there’s no hanging on. Turnover again of possession for taking too long to inbound.”

“Oh, this is ridiculous.”

“No mate, you are ridiculous. These are the rules. Now either accept them and play the game, or don’t.”

“Oh, I give up.”

“That’s your choice. But just remember, the game isn’t going anywhere. It will still be here waiting for you to come and enjoy it when you’ve sorted yourself out and feel like getting involved again. Oh yeah and when you do come back the rules will probably pretty much be the same. So, you know, ‘buy in or keep cryin’.”

A lot of other sports allow you to do things at a leisurely pace. Yeah you can get penalised for ‘time wasting’. But we all know a lot of other sports, the officiating time wasting is very subjective and opinion based. It doesn't always happen. But in basketball, it’s pretty black and white. It's not always consistent. But I'd say they are enforced pretty well the majorite of the time.

This is time wasting. Because the rules say a certain number of seconds. Don’t waste it.

Other sports are a bit like the students that cram last minute for an exam to get the result they want. Obviously, that’s not a reflection on the people that play the games. But it’s a comparison of how you can look at the structure of the game. It definitely impacts on the psychology of those who play it. Whether they realise it or not.

Don’t get me wrong, you can see in basketball games a pattern of how players exert themselves. But that’s because like all sports, it’s a battle of attrition. You’ve got to pace yourself. But in basketball, players are always thinking progress. Because they have to.

But the point of this entry wasn’t to talk strictly about basketball. It was to talk about the ‘S is for...’ System. And how I liken it to basketball, a sport that I have followed for a number of years. A sport that I love and believe others can learn a great deal from. I know without basketball I wouldn’t have achieved half of the things I have achieved. Because basketball forces me to make progress. It's pretty much in my wiring these days.

So, in a way I think the ‘S is for…’ system does a similar thing in terms of making you make progress. Like the time stipulations in basketball. But the 'S is for... System' isn't really based on time. It’s based on content. Whereas basketball makes you make progress because time is ticking away. ‘S is for...’ reminds you that there are things to talk about and address. Just like basketball, the choice is always yours whether or not you want to participate and engage, but even if you decide to give up, the reality is, the subjects will always be there. So, when I am engaging with the system, I think of it like practise. It’s like training. And then when it comes to game time, I’m ready because I’ve allowed some of these subjects to occupy my mind and I’m not scared or intimated by them. They are after all just subjects. Some of them may be more apparent in my life than yours, but I always figured if I can be prepared to discuss them, in a calm, relaxed and respectful manner then I'm onto a winner.

So, 'S' based subjects.

The fun stuff:






And for some of us the not so fun stuff that makes for stereotypical uncomfortable thinking or conversation. But at some point may need addressing because my friends, my family, my colleagues, my players want to and need to discuss this stuff to feel more comfortable and improve their situations. So because of that I need to too. Because discussing all this stuff is symbolic of solidarity, and helps us achieve serenity. And I try to be selfless and not a selfish prick. Anyway, the not so comfortable 'S' topics:



Sexual abuse






Substance abuse


Skin colour





Stage fright






Special needs






Speaking out loud






Schools of thought

Sense of humour













State of mind




Self - (And all the many subjects of the self) Oooooo that's a biggie!

Clearly this doesn’t cover all topics. I’m not stupid. But is S is for Something(which covers everything, so shut your face) and this is a start.

Simply, the way I see it is. If you want to be better. If you want things to be better. You have to strive for better. It’s important to have a stance on what ‘better’ is. It will help even more if you can substantiate it. But once you’ve done that, just strive for it. Shy away from it when you have to, because struggles are a part of life and progress. You need to recover. But the reality is, if you shy away from something forever, it’s always going to be there. These are just subjects, and it's ok to discuss them if people want to.

Do I want to?

Put it this way, I don't not want to. Because I won't shy away from a discussion.

Who doesn’t love a good quote?

“My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.” – Al Pacino

Songs to listen to now:

Too Shy – Kajagoogoo

Shy Boy – Secret

Shy Girl – Helen Love

Shy – John and Jehn

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Ask – The Smiths

Of All The Gin Joints In All The World – Fall Out Boy

How Soon Is Now – The Smiths

Till We Meet Again – Chicago

Actually It’s Darkness - Idlewild

©2018 S is for Something