Basketball: The Force ‘family’ comes into its own over the Christmas period – Sayers

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While the majority of the teams in the BBL are still playing games, we don’t play until December 27. Although the gap between games has its down sides, I personally see it as a blessing at this time of year.

It has given me and many of my Force team-mates the opportunity to go home and see our loved ones which, in our job, is not something that you learn to expect.

For some people, however, going home at Christmas means long-haul flights and lots of time. Therefore, more often than not, spending the holiday season away from home is something they’ve become accustomed to.

When you think of the idea of spending Christmas in a foreign country, away from your family, friends and the traditions you’ve gotten used to over the years, you’d be forgiven for painting a rather depressing picture. But the reality is far from what you’d expect!

When you join a basketball club, you aren’t just a basketball player. You are a part of a team, an organisation, a community. In a community, people look out for one another and it’s no different here at Leeds Force. If you can’t go home at Christmas, you can bet you’ll be made to feel at home in Leeds.

Whether or not you’re spending Christmas with family, having such a large gap between games, as I mentioned earlier, does have its down sides. One of which is the risk of losing match fitness and if you combine that with the excessive consumption of chocolate and mince pies, you could have a problem on your hands. That’s why we, as players, have to be sensible during this time of temptation. After all, it is our job to perform, so we’ll be enjoying the Christmas snacks as much as the next person but unlike most, we’ll be cancelling it out with a jog on Christmas day. Well that’s the plan anyway.

So have you got a basketball player in the family or perhaps a basketball player spending Christmas with your family and are struggling for gift ideas? Let me help you out! Here’s a few things that you can’t go wrong with!

1) Aside from a ticket home, of course, the next best thing has got to be a pair of basketball shoes! By this time of year you can almost guarantee that the ones they bought at the start of the season have been well and truly run into the ground!

2) The struggle of fitting your towel, water bottle, basketball shoes, etc into your normal-sized backpack is something we face daily.

A sports backpack that’s big enough to fit all those basketball essentials in is a godsend.

3) Heavy and demanding schedules mean sore and tight muscles. A foam roller to iron out all those knots and kinks will be very well received.

I’m sure of it.

4) Something that is part and parcel of the job is injury or just joint pain in general. I know that many basketball players suffer from ankle and knee pain and are forever icing their bodies.

A reusable icepack is, admittedly, a slightly boring gift, but it is one of the most useful things you can buy a basketball player.

5) Despite the stigma attached to getting socks as a present, you can never have too many socks when you play basketball and there’s nothing more underrated than a good pair of basketball socks! After all, nobody wants a blister for Christmas.

If all else fails, maybe just deviate from the norm and go with something non-basketball related because they’ll appreciate the unexpected.