Why We Play Basketball Summary

Why We Play Basketball Summary

Q. Write the Summary of Why We Play Basketball by Sherman Alexie.

Why We Play Basketball Summary

“Why We Play Basketball” by Sherman Alexie is a poem divided into five parts. It was published in 1996 in the collection “The Summer of Black Widows.”

The poem discusses the narrator and his community’s strong connection with basketball. It shows their dedication to the game, the emotions tied to playing, and how the sport relates to their struggles and identity.

Part I
Dedication to the Game

In the first part, the children show their dedication to basketball despite challenges like snow and hunger. They wrap their hands in old socks and use kerosene to melt the snow on the court so they can play.

They play until it gets too dark to see the hoop or the ball, driven by their love for the game. Nothing can stop them, not the cold, hunger, or fear of missing shots.

They are small boys who dream of growing up as strong men and finding joy and purpose in the game. Eventually, their parents come looking for them and carry them home.

This part highlights the children’s determination and the lengths they go to play basketball, emphasizing their passion and commitment to the sport.

Part II
Early Love for Basketball

The second part describes the deep connection the players have with basketball. They remember the first time they shot the ball and knew it would go in, leaving the court triumphantly.

As they grew older, they fell in love with Indian girls who eventually became Indian women. They started families and got busy with life, but the love for the game never left them.

The ball waited for them, suspended in time, reminding them of their passion. When they remember the game, they feel pain and joy, recalling how much they loved playing.

This part shows how basketball remains integral to their lives, even as they grow older and their priorities change. The game is a constant source of happiness and nostalgia.

Part III
Competition and Belief

In the third part, the story discusses the competitive nature of basketball and the unique abilities of players like Seymour. Seymour, who is blind and deaf, plays basketball using his sense of smell.

He identifies his teammates by their distinct scents and plays with remarkable skill. This extraordinary ability inspires the other players and gives them a reason to believe in something greater than themselves.

Basketball becomes more than just a game; it becomes a way to find faith and purpose. The players admire Seymour’s talent and are motivated to push their limits.

This part highlights how basketball can bring out the best in people, encouraging them to overcome their limitations and believe in their abilities. It shows how the game fosters a sense of community and inspiration.

Part IV
Love and Hate in the Game

The fourth part describes basketball as a form of war in which players express their emotions. They sometimes throw their bodies against each other, learning to hate the ball, hoop, snow, and even themselves.

The game allows them to release their frustrations and resolve their inner conflicts. They hate their clumsy hands, thirsty mouths, and reflections in the mirror.

Yet, despite all this hate, they continue to play because they want to separate love from hate. Basketball helps them channel their emotions and keep track of their progress.

This part illustrates how the game is an outlet for the players’ intense emotions, helping them cope with their struggles and find balance. It shows basketball’s raw and powerful impact on their mental and emotional well-being.

Part V
Connection to Home and Identity

In the fifth part, basketball is tied to the players’ sense of home and identity. They remember living in a small house with one door, crowded with family and cousins, fighting over the single basketball they had.

The game represents their community, their struggles, and their resilience. One memory is climbing a tall tree with the ball, refusing to come down unless made captain.

It led to a fight with a brother, resulting in a punch so hard that red horses were seen. Despite the fights, basketball symbolizes their belief in themselves and their community.

The game is integral to their lives, representing their strength and unity. This part shows how basketball is more than just a sport for them; it is a key part of their identity and connection to their roots. The game is a source of pride and a testament to their perseverance.