Basketball at YLS

November 16, 2010 - 12 AM

N.H., 3L

You might think that attending law school will require you to sacrifice your physical fitness in order to maximize the amount of time you spend cramming for your Contracts exam in some deep dark corner of a library. At least at Yale, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Athletic activity is everywhere at the law school. YLSers are deeply passionate about everything from cycling to softball to rugby. If you can think of a sport, it probably has a following at YLS. There is also a great range of intensity: many students are just casual participants, while some take their chosen sports quite seriously. One of my classmates even just completed the New York City Marathon.

My sport of choice is basketball (though my passion for the game greatly outpaces my talent). Fortunately, the law school has a surprisingly vibrant basketball culture. One can almost always head to the Payne Whitney courts and find a variety of pickups games going between various graduate students, Yale staff, and undergraduates. For those of us who prefer to play with friendly faces, there is an entire email listserv dedicated to scheduling basketball games among law students. Rarely does a day pass without at least one such email chain popping up in my inbox. In fact, the volume of people wanting to play ball can be so significant that I often find myself turning to Gmail’s “Mute” feature for a respite from the flood of emailing YLS ballers.

There are also a number of opportunities for more organized play at Yale. In the fall we also play against Harvard Law School in the annual Court Classic, a charity basketball game that takes place the night before The Game (the name for the annual Harvard-Yale college football game). The Court Classic raises thousands of dollars to help fund summer public interest. This year it will take place in Cambridge, and scores of YLS students will make the trip north for the event. The spring intramural leagues are great for those of us who love the camaraderie that comes with a fixed roster of teammates. There are leagues for a variety of skill levels, as well as leagues that are specifically co-ed. While the other graduate and professional schools typically field one team per school, there are so many YLS players that we have three separate teams for each of the class years. In most years there is at least one YLS team in each of the intramural championship games.

Basketball is more than just a sport at YLS – it is a community. I have developed some great friendships on the court, friendships that last long after we unlace our sneakers and hang up our jerseys for the day.