Imagine being in school. It's the morning session, and the recess bell has just rung. Well of course, the first thing you do is run out to the playing field to chase your friends around, kick a football, or head down to the basketball court. Now imagine that you have the opportunity to not just bounce around a ball amongst your friends, but represent your school in an organised inter-school basketball league. Imagine your school's name on the front of your jersey and yours on the back.
Now you don't have to imagine anymore. The season for the 1st Delhi School League, for boys and girls, tipped off on Monday the 16th of August at the Montfort School and the Sachdeva Public School. The league, organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and IMG-Reliance, is set to involve 20 boys and girls teams from schools around New Delhi who will play each other nearly every day for a month. The 10 boys and 10 girls teams have been divided into two groups each, and each team will play the other teams in their groups twice on a home and away basis.
"This league is an exciting new beginning for us," said Harish Sharma, the secretary-general of the BFI, "It is an important early step in the promotion of basketball at the grassroots level. I want to thank IMG-Reliance for stepping forward and helping us with this league."
There was an electricity in the air at the Montfort School, which hosted two games for their girls and their boys against girls and boys of Delhi Public School (RK Puram). Stepping out to the school's outdoor court in their custom-fitted league jerseys, the players looked ready to relish and make the most of this opportunity. Montfort's basketball players didn't disappoint their cheering supporters, as both the girls and the boys picked up convincing victories.
Although it was only the first day of the competition, the passion was already burning amongst the players and the fans. At one point, when the Montfort boys held a convincing 30 point lead, their coach VP Niroola continued to drive their players to perfection from the sideline. There was to be no room for mistakes – this was all business, serious basketball. Every possession and every game had to be won.
Naroola hopes that this league will be successful. "I hope we continue to organise it in a good manner. I think it has the potential to be a great event."
"It's great that this league is happening – basketball will get a lot more recognition because of this," said Anika Sharma, a basketball player for the Montfort girls' team, "This is the first time that a league like this is happening in India and it's really nice for us basketball lovers."
The top two teams from each group will then qualify for a 'Super League', and the top two teams from the Super League will play each other in the Finals. Each team will earn two points for a victory, one for a loss, and zero for a loss by forfeit. The first round games will finish on September 7th, before the competition proceeds to the Super League stage. Games are set to be played between 9 - 11 AM every morning starting from Monday, August 16th. The first round games will finish on September 7th, before the competition proceeds to the Super League stage. Further schedule shall be released later.
The participating teams are:
Group A: Montfort School, Army Public School, Delhi Public School – RK Puram, GD Goenka School, and Carmel Convent School.
Group B: Delhi Public School – Mathura Road, Modern School, Oxford School, Sachdeva Public School, and Convent of Jesus and Mary.
Group A: Montfort School, Army Public School, Delhi Public School – RK Puram, GD Goenka School, and New Green Field School.
Group B: Delhi Public School – Mathura Road, Modern School, Oxford School, Sachdeva Public School, and St. Columba's School.