Wanted: Amateur Basketball Players With A Serious Sense Of Humor

“You can be really bad and we’ll still like you”

Image via LAFABL

I entered the lineup in Game 1 as a free agent for the Firin’ Sirens. The ball had gone out of bounds off of the opposing team, Swishimi. I caught the inbound pass and started running toward the other end of the court, but no one followed me. Oops. Wrong way. Embarrassing at first, but then I remembered something Effie Ralli had told me: “You can be really bad and we’ll still like you.”


This is the Los Angeles Feminist Amateur Basketball League.

LAFABL founders Aerienne “Hustle Your Bustle” Russell and Effie “The Pep” Ralli designed the league to a supportive, non-judgmental space for women to shoot hoops, regardless of ball-handling abilities or even fitness level. I’d heard stories about their hoops hijinks, the jock jams, the personalized trading cards, and the palpable, unapologetically feminine energy you won’t find on most playground courts. So when the league (hilariously known as LAFABL) announced its eighth season, I called, “I got next.”

And all the details—colorful, handmade team sashes and game time playlists curated from a millennial’s most embarrassing but beloved mixed CD of her youth—show the love that goes into organizing these games.

Still, I felt nervous stepping into the Lake Street Community Center for Game 1. The hardwood is a scary place if you’ve ever felt like a gym-class reject. I’ve been there, but so have most of the women here. I’m with peers, their ages ranging from mid-20s to mid-30s. Representing virtually every skin tone on the spectrum, as well as all shapes and sizes, this crowd might have been easy to blend into, yet everyone stood out. Each person’s individuality, from their tattoos to their psychedelic t-shirts, floral shorts, and tube socks, was striking in an arena where the homogeneity of “jockdom” is the norm. There are two or three serious ballers in the mix, as well as several who've played in the league for multiple seasons. But no one seems fazed at all about lopsided skill levels.

I also wondered if the blowback of Hillary Clinton’s widely unexpected, debilitating loss to Donald Trump just days before would be in the air. But surprisingly, and refreshingly, there was no Trump talk to be heard. LAFABL does attract feminists and celebrates sisterhood, but activism isn’t the intent here. “The feminist angle is just about inclusivity and community, so it’s not a direct political conversation that we’re trying to start or have,” Russell tells GOOD.

As Ray Allen, one of my basketball idols, once said before a 2011 NBA playoff game: “When you lace them up, it’s five-on-five.” That’s always resonated as a mantra that when you step onto the court, you leave everything else behind and keep your head in the game. That mental respite, whether you seek it as an athlete or as a spectator, has always been one of the beautiful things about sports, and women should feel just as free to pursue that on a Sunday afternoon as men undoubtedly do.

Part of the reason Russell and Ralli started this thing in the first place is because there are too many women who literally feel they have no place in sports. “We would go play basketball and all the courts were filled with guys,” Ralli says.

Nicole Stetter of the LAFABL team Dunkin Do-nets adds, “I have ample male friends who congregate to play casually, and they’re always so turned off by the idea of allowing women because they’re worried the level of skill and strength vary too much and they’ll have to ‘play carefully.’ I don't even completely disagree.”

So 2½ years ago, Russell and Ralli took their one-on-one games to the next level and organized their first four-week tournament. Each season thereafter, they’ve welcomed anyone who identifies as female to sign up for one of 40 roster spots, which they’ve filled every time. The dues, used to pay for use of the gym and supplies, are $20 per person, and free agents can come to any game and pay $5 to play. (This season’s first three games took place on Nov. 13, Nov. 20, and Dec. 4. The final game, on December 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m., is still open to free agents.)

Ralli says the league is a place for “people who might not fit into regular sports.”

“It is mostly a women’s league, but we want to make it a bit more broad than that,” she says. “Because you could be gender-queer and still feel not safe on a regular court playing basketball. If a trans man wants to play, I’d be open to it. Definitely gender-queer persons, trans women, and anyone who identifies as a woman are welcome.”

Aside from bolstering a healthy personal relationship with sports and exercise, the judgment-free zone of LAFABL also lets players harness their feminine power to inspire and connect with one another. “We can exhibit a natural sense of competition and simultaneously lift each other up and cheer each other on,” Stetter says. “It’s a beautiful dance.”

The impact can transcend the players themselves, too. Stetter, for one, brings her kids to her games.

“Having my son see all these girls together playing a male-dominated sport better be changing his perception of what sports can be! And I think having my daughter see a girls-only basketball league helps broaden the typical perspective of ‘basketball players’,” Stetter says. “If she can obtain even the smallest sense that she can do things that don't initially seem like they’re ‘for girls,’ then LAFABL has done so much for our family.”

In my first game, after the mad dash to the wrong hoop, I made up for my misstep later with some offensive rebounds, assists, and two baskets—and I can’t even express how exhilarating it felt to score those points for my team.

Yes, bloopers happen, but make no mistake—some of the girls here really have game, so it’s definitely not a complete free-for-all. In fact, my teammates surprised me when they strategized to implement zone defense, which helped us take the lead against our much-taller opponents.

Then, with about 10 seconds to go, the refs called a foul on our team. The shooter from Swishimi missed both free throws, but one of her teammates got the offensive board and hit a shot in the final seconds. The game ended in a 24-24 tie. No overtime.

Having a winner wasn’t really the goal. We had the drama that everyone craves from playing and watching sports—but it all ended in good fun, high-fives, and no losers.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

RELATED: A ridiculous dad transformed Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' into a 3-minute long musical dad joke

While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur

The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Viral


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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