Church ball draws masses of students


Story by Jack Meltsner, Co-Editor-in-chief

When one thinks of church ball, an image of teenagers playing basketball in a church comes to mind. Although it’s referred to as church ball, not all teams are affiliated with churches and the players don’t have to belong to a church. However, a multitude of faiths are represented in church ball, ranging from Christianity’s branches to Greek churches. 

Players participate in church ball for the easy-going, relaxed vibe that it affords players. church ball is not very competitive, so players can forget about their games afterwards and just have fun during competition.

“At the end of every game, our coach lets us just shoot from anywhere because he doesn’t care much about the result, he cares about us having fun,” junior Mabry Sumner said. “I love playing because of my friends on the team. It’s a really fun environment.”

Last year, Myers Park United Methodist’s 12th grade male team, The Blueberries, infatuated our student body. They drew large crowds to their games and inspired other students to participate.

Not only have male teams attracted buzz, but female teams have too. Some female teams are made up of players from different age groups, but do not lack competitiveness between the ages. The girls compete just as hard and have as much fun as guys do.

Charlotte has too many church ball teams to fit into one league, so independent leagues have formed. The leagues are split up across town to make travel time more convenient. Each league consists of teams from its age group and are either all male, all female or co-ed. Most teams focus on having fun and embrace the camaraderie between coaches and teammates.

“I know most of [my teammates] from school and we use church ball as a way to have fun and goof around,” sophomore Catherine Moore said.

Some players have been playing church ball their entire lives and still enjoy it. The leagues start in middle school and follow the players through high school. Each year, players play against the same teams and start to build a familiarity and rivalry with their opponents. This year, East is represented at all grade levels by both male and female teams across Charlotte.

As players build relationships with their opponents, they also foster bonds with their teammates. For example, seniors Lewis Benston and Skyler Strzelecki have been playing with each other throughout high school.

“It’s so much fun playing with your closest friends, kids we’ve known since elementary school. Our chemistry is unreal,” Benston said.

The success of church ball has caused a ripple effect throughout Charlotte and has made other recreational sports more popular. The fun of competing with your friends in a relaxed setting is unparalleled. 

“Playing any sport and being competitive is even better when you have people that you know and trust on your team,” Strzelecki said.

Across Charlotte, church ball has brought friends together and has revitalized recreational sports. Some players enjoy it so much that they highly anticipate each weeks practices and games, posting about it on social media.

“church ball is life,” Benston said via Twitter.