'Church ball' takes to a new court — the Utah Supreme Court

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  • Frantic & Emotional Philadelphia, PA
    July 17, 2019 12:39 p.m.

    @vanka

    Why would a group of people have such an overrated sense of their own abilities and importance like that? Is it because they are thoroughly taught with the idea that they are more righteous, and therefore, should be more "blessed", and better than others?

    sounds like you just described all the "woke" activists on the Left in Congress

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2019 12:34 p.m.

    @be practical

    It seems that if the Church is going to do away with pageants, it should do away with basketball tournaments as well.

    --------------

    They did cancel the bigger tournaments like the "All-Church Tournament" years ago.

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2019 12:32 p.m.

    @IA Cougar

    Church basketball has no place in the church at all. If we are going to raise the standards, we need to stop. There is nothing that happens in church ball that would ever shed a positive light on the members and others who play it. It most certainly does not enhance anything at all about the church.

    -----------------

    Incidents like these are rare. When I was a kid and young adult our Stake paid for referrees from the local referree association that did the high school games. Games were well managed, well organized, competitive and very fun. It was a very effective tool for fellowshipping less-active members and friendshipping non-members and I can cite several examples of both that I have known whose lives were blessed and their faith enhanced as a result of their participation.

    As in all things, you get out of it what you put into it (as the saying goes).

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2019 12:26 p.m.

    he alleges he was "tackled". Sounds like from the description that the foul was just a common reach in type foul and the reason he fell to the ground was due to his knee getting injured. I didn't read anything that provided evidence that the reach in foul caused the knee injury. It sounds like the jump stop may have been what jarred the knee and caused the injury.

    Besides, who uses a jump stop at the free throw line anymore??? That's something they taught in the 70's. Hearing that he utilized a jump stop at the FT line makes me wonder if age and physical conditioning wasn't a factor as well.

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2019 12:15 p.m.

    @livinlarge

    No doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith would have loved to play in a competitive and spirited game of basketball if it would have been around in his day...

    -----------------

    haha, no doubt. He may have even instituted a Church Wrestling League as well

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    July 16, 2019 2:10 p.m.

    No doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith would have loved to play in a competitive and spirited game of basketball if it would have been around in his day...

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 16, 2019 2:00 p.m.

    Actually the Church has scaled back athletics a lot. At one point there was a Church wide basketball championship. That was scrapped about 1972. I believe it was around 1990 that any competitions higher than the stake level were scrapped.

    It is telling that most comments mention events 30+ years ago.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    July 16, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    Since this is a civil case, I have to point out how rare a plaintiff attorney takes a case that gets handed a 5-0 defeat from a State Supreme Court. Now what is Nixon going to do, sue his attorney for malpractice for not winning the case?

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    July 16, 2019 1:39 p.m.

    I have to ask...was the Church named as a defendant in the complaint?

  • freight-train , CA
    July 16, 2019 12:32 p.m.

    One post said, thank goodness we don’t have rugby in the church. While I’ve never played rugby, a stake in Southern Cal organized and had flag football about 10 years ago and there was far LESS contact and far BETTER sportsmanship during flag football than church basketball.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    July 16, 2019 11:42 a.m.

    I played intramurals at the U--(much better players than ward ball) and in the Marine Corps (much tougher guys than the ward team) and never experienced the cheap shots, retaliation and overall immaturity that I experienced playing ward basketball. Some fun times to be sure and even a lot of good examples of fine sportsmanship and character, but so much that was bush league. On a side note though--County Rec basketball in Salt Lake wasn't much better. Funny thing though--as a non-member playing ward softball--I have no memories of bad sportsmanship. Just pretty good times, win or lose---and frozen yogurt afterward. Weird.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    July 16, 2019 9:57 a.m.

    In my opinion, this whole lawsuit was a complete waste of time and money on attorney fees.

    Common sense: If you don't want to risk getting hurt, don't get in the game!

    Pure and simple. Don't destroy the whole game of Church ball over this silly assertion.
    "Much ado about nothing," Shakespeare

  • Nottrue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2019 8:22 a.m.

    Simple solution, don't play church ball anymore if you can't hack it.

  • rcf Brigham City, UT
    July 16, 2019 8:16 a.m.

    I was a stake-trained referee at Church basketball games in California for a season or two many years ago, In the last game I "refed" there were so many fouls and such subsequent complaining that I pulled off my striped shirt during the third quarter, threw it on the floor, and left. I probably wasn't a very good ref, nor a very good player, but I loved the game and continued to show up into my mid-forties. Those were good days.

  • gchris Rock Springs, WY
    July 16, 2019 8:13 a.m.

    It has been my observation as both a player and an official in church basketball, that many of the men who play have never played the game at a higher level, either high school or college. They watch NBA and college games and envision themselves as LaBron or Harden but have the skills and athleticism of the last guy picked in gym class. Unable to do the things they see on television, they become frustrated and aggressive. Because the games are refereed by equally unqualified officials, missed calls and miscalls are the norm, which adds fuel to the frustration. The best church basketball that I experienced were pick-up games without referees.

  • J D 690 Springville, UT
    July 16, 2019 8:08 a.m.

    When playing Church Ball -- Think of the scripture ---" Remember Your Brethren in Mercy "

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    July 16, 2019 6:59 a.m.

    Turn the other cheek brother. Or in this case, the other knee.

  • Skidney Garden City, UT
    July 16, 2019 1:58 a.m.

    Church basketball is indispensable to the missionary program and we need to keep it at all costs. Ever heard of the Spalding Theory? It goes something like this: "If a non-member touches a basketball 100 thousand times in church basketball games, he *will* be baptized."

  • Led4Seth Apple Valley, UT
    July 15, 2019 9:25 p.m.

    My wise singles ward bishop was known to tell the women “If you think you could be interested in a guy go watch him play church basketball first!”. I agree with him. Not that church ball brings out the worst in everyone, but rather it reveals their true character for better or worse. Most guys I played with were great, but the few hot heads were revealed.

  • mrjj69 Bountiful, UT
    July 15, 2019 8:49 p.m.

    why does everything end in a lawsuit these days?

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    July 15, 2019 8:39 p.m.

    Don't know about McCain's supposed quote, but here's another.
    "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
    No one forced them to play.
    Sports through Church is important for the body. All the bball games I've watched were a little rough, but all laughed about their injuries.
    But, just watch professional bball. Amy injury they receive, even a stubbed toe, and these "athletes" get carried off the court.
    Just be glad the Church doesn't have rugby games.

  • Mr. Biomed Fort Wayne, IN
    July 15, 2019 7:43 p.m.

    Living in the midwest and having played both school and church basketball for 40 plus years, the times when I saw sportsmanship problems was almost always the guys who were never good enough to play school sports. But thought they were the baddest jocks in church ball. Basketball is very much a contact sport. You set picks to block opponents, draw charges, and there's always some pushing back n forth in the lane getting position. I've seen teeth knocked out and broken legs/noses. Bruises, floor burns - you name it. But never a lawsuit. As others have said, all sports have risk. For those of you who feel good riddance to church sports, I sadly agree. Only because of those who don't have the self discipline that is needed to play sports are so often the ones who ruin it for the rest. I've had many years of rewarding church ball and many fond memories. But I think too many of the young men/women have been raised with the idea that everything in life is supposed to be fair and everyone a winner. They don't know how to deal with it when life isn't fair.

  • bigv56 Cottonwood, CA
    July 15, 2019 7:43 p.m.

    Call the waambulance!

  • Basketballogy Orem, UT
    July 15, 2019 7:08 p.m.

    President Ezra Taft Benson once said, “Sportsmanship is the spirituality in athletics, and we believe that the Church athletic program is a spiritual program. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t continue it, because our purpose is to build men and women of character and spirituality.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 437).

    So while some people treat church sports like a farm league to the pros, the real intent is to fellowship and build character.

    Building character usually includes both accepting responsibility, and forgiving others.

    Hopefully Mr. Nixon will now move on to do both.

  • Idaho forever South Jordan, UT
    July 15, 2019 6:30 p.m.

    I volunteered to be a referee at a "Church" tournament on a Saturday afternoon back in the 70's. In the first game I had about 80% of the players on both teams fouled out by halftime. I was not invited back

  • mallow Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 15, 2019 6:21 p.m.

    Question... Do we worship sports, winning, revenge, money,
    We sure waste a lot of time and effort on things that in the real scheme of things don't matter.
    I hope the ward is not split in two over this, but that everyone will get past it.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    July 15, 2019 6:16 p.m.

    @Vanka
    "Is it because they are thoroughly taught with the idea that they are more righteous, and therefore, should be more "blessed", and better than others?"

    Your slant worries me: "....more righteous....more blessed....better than others...." I hope there is no intent of religious bigotry.

    The Church can only teach its congregation righteous behavior.....that is no guarantee that the members will chose to behave righteously.

    Any lesson or talk I've ever heard never argued that LDS were better than others; and we'll only be blessed via our righteous behavior.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2019 6:15 p.m.

    The lawsuit is pretty weird, but don't assume the injured player filed it. Personal injury suits are often filed by the insurance company on behalf of the injured party, and the named plaintiff has no choice in the matter.

  • What!? Saratoga Springs, UT
    July 15, 2019 6:04 p.m.

    Church ball... "turkey day" football.
    Injuries happen. If you're gonna play the game your gonna take your chances.
    I wouldn't let this Nixon's kids anywhere near my grandkids.

  • ZION4MAN Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2019 5:10 p.m.

    Many years ago I was in Salt Lake City attending an All Church Basketball tournament playoff. While seated in a bathroom stall I overheard a coach telling one of his players to deliberately injure one of the high scorers on the opposite team, to put him out of the game.

    Prior to that I attended a Regional Church Basketball Playoff in Palmdale, California and witnessed the same kind of behavior on the court when our high scorer was deliberately hit in the face with a fist by an opposing team member and knocked out cold.

    The competitive desire to win overshadowed all civility and any feelings of brotherhood.

    The All Church Softball winning team out of Palmdale, for several years in a row, would bring in non-LDS players who were the equivalent of professionals. Other than a select few, local LDS players were not allowed on the team. It was "win by any means".

    Un-Christ like behavior. Left a bad taste my mouth.
    I agree. Get rid of the Church tournaments. Just play ball for the exercise and the camaraderie, if you can generate it.

  • stekiman Kaysville, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:57 p.m.

    The same thing happened to me, essentially, except for the hit I took was much more vicious and not a basketball play at all. Completely tore my ACL and MCL, which took two years to rehabilitate. My case would have been much stronger than this one. But guess what I did. I got the surgery done, worked like crazy to rehab my knee, and moved on with my life without even thinking about a lawsuit. And I took up running and have never played church basketball since. It really does bring out the worst in some people, unfortunately.

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    July 15, 2019 4:55 p.m.

    I enjoy playing ball with my brethren at the church. Nobody swears and nobody gets in fights. That is true 90+ percent of the time. We don't have tournaments here, and I like this. We just play pickup ball together. This is better because we know each other so we are less likely to cross the line. There are many great things that can come from church ball: getting to know each other, less-active members come out, those not of our faith come, good exercise, etc. Yes, some people should not go because they turn into maniacs, but the vast majority are fine.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:52 p.m.

    I played church ball about 32 years. I can only think of two incidences that were totally out of line. The rest of the time was enjoyable to me. I guess I don't relate to most comments made.
    For me it was a fun and enjoyable experience. One year the team I played on went to the all church tournament and we won the consolation championship. During those very competitive games I don't recall a single incidence that was way out of line. Sorry the rest of you didn't have my experience.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:50 p.m.

    I don't understand why church basketball is still a thing. With our increased focus on Christ, and moving away from programs that don't further the mission of the church, I fail to understand why we are still sponsoring basketball tournaments. It wouldn't surprise me at all to hear that this is going away soon.

  • SamiAntha Murray, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:48 p.m.

    I am not a basketball aficionado but even I wonder how this happened:

    "Clay’s arm made contact with Nixon’s right shoulder. Nixon then felt his left knee pop"
    Now, What?!!

  • Paul8777 Brigham City, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:40 p.m.

    While living in SLC about 30 years ago, I watched what became a literal riot between the two opposing teams of the game prior to the one I was going to play in. It started with some racially charged insults from the bleachers, and devolved when players on the teams started arguing and throwing insults at each other. Pretty soon shoves started, and then fisticuffs. Before long, the entire court looked like a WWE event. When the players were eventually separated, and the game was terminated by the refs, we took the court to warm up. As was the practice at the time, both teams had to provide a referee for the game after theirs - in this case, the game I was in. Just before half time, a couple of policemen appeared at the door with a woman. She pointed to one of the referees, the policemen stopped the game, and the referee was handcuffed and escorted out. Don't tell me how tough your sport is until you've played church ball!

  • Squareitup Nephi, UT
    July 15, 2019 4:01 p.m.

    It is a strange thing. This church ball. Several years ago we had a young lady from Belgrade living with us for the school year. She saw herself as a basketball hero, but she didn't get very many minutes on the school team. Five of us old guys in the ward decided to help her out so we played each week 3v3 with her. She was allowed to play as hard as she wanted and shoot as often as she wanted. The rest of us played at something less than half speed and all of us had a wonderful time. That is until we needed another guy one night and got one of the young bucks to fill the slot. It was pretty much over after that. They wanted to play and it wasn't fun for anyone after that.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 15, 2019 3:39 p.m.

    In South America there is no church basketball - instead it's church soccer. And it makes church basketball look tame. I've seen knives pulled.

    Sports has no place in church, period. Not in church congregations, church activities, or church schools. Sports bring out the worst in people, and we need to be showing them our best.

  • No One Of Consequence Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2019 3:29 p.m.

    This article doesn't address one possibility: the suit may have been filed on behalf of the injured party by his insurance company in an attempt to recoup their losses. Happens every day.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    July 15, 2019 3:28 p.m.

    Boorish behavior isn't limited to MoBall. The outrageous conduct and language occurs at city league basketball games across the nation. Something about bad basketball brings out the worst in people.
    As a kid I witnessed a youth baseball coach throw baseballs and bats at the umpire after the game. The coach's wife was crying - someone called the cops. Bizarre.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:57 p.m.

    It’s a litigious wasteland out there. Soon everything will be ruined.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:51 p.m.

    "It's so true though - if every participant just looks in the mirror and realizes they aren't and never were NBA material and recognize how great the opportunity to have fun and compete with friends and neighbors..."

    This is consistent with my observations. Why would a group of people have such an overrated sense of their own abilities and importance like that? Is it because they are thoroughly taught with the idea that they are more righteous, and therefore, should be more "blessed", and better than others?

  • SGU84770 St. George, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:45 p.m.

    I am assuming the plaintiff’s attorney took the case on a contingency basis. The attorney will not be in business long if he/she cannot evaluate a case better than this. This case is frivolous. Shocking that it was filed. Simply unbelievable that it was appealed.

  • BlueMoonOden Hinckley, IL
    July 15, 2019 2:34 p.m.

    When I was going to school in Rexburg in the 70s, I made a mistake in volunteering to referee in the church basketball league and tournament. . It was a terrible experience. I later officiated high school games in Illinois and Wisconsin but never did I see the viciousness of the LDS church leagues. It was almost as if players were looking to fight.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:34 p.m.

    @ECR - Burke, VA

    "Best advice I ever heard at the beginning of a church basketball game when our Stake Athletic Director, who was also one of the referees for the game said, "I guarantee the officiating will be as professional and skilled as the playing.""

    Hahahaha! I love it! It's so true though - if every participant just looks in the mirror and realizes they aren't and never were NBA material and recognize how great the opportunity to have fun and compete with friends and neighbors I think the "chip-on-the-shoulder" mentality would go away. Fortunately incidents this extreme are rare and it's even the vast minority that create the tension and frustration that exists in church-ball. That said, it always seems like there is at least a couple in every stake that seem to think the NBA scouts are there looking for them.j

    If the game is that serious to you, pony up the money and join a competition rec league - otherwise come to have fun and don't take yourself, your teammates, your opponents, or your officials too seriously. Just enjoy it!

  • JHP Henderson, NV
    July 15, 2019 2:34 p.m.

    It's sad that so many childish behavior occurs at church basketball games (I've witnessed it many times), and it's also sad that someone would sue another person for simply playing a game of basketball with them and attempting to make a play. Of course, an intentional injury would be different.

  • Be Practical Sandy, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:31 p.m.

    It seems that if the Church is going to do away with pageants, it should do away with basketball tournaments as well.

  • jimjr Kaysville, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:27 p.m.

    I thought the church canceled the basketball program?

  • ji_ Ketchikan, AK
    July 15, 2019 2:10 p.m.

    If I was in Brother Nixon’s ward or stake, I could not let his kids play at my house, or do anything that would expose me to his next lawsuit.

  • Big J Bountiful, UT
    July 15, 2019 2:08 p.m.

    Unbelievable except I just read the article.

  • IA Cougar Mesa, AZ
    July 15, 2019 1:56 p.m.

    Church basketball has no place in the church at all. If we are going to raise the standards, we need to stop. There is nothing that happens in church ball that would ever shed a positive light on the members and others who play it. It most certainly does not enhance anything at all about the church. #rantover

  • Maverick10 Taylorsville, UT
    July 15, 2019 1:53 p.m.

    There is only one word for this money. Some is looking to make a lot of money because he got hurt.

    Stupid.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 15, 2019 1:53 p.m.

    Utehaw
    Well known by whom?
    You obviously have not been a witness to this.
    I grew up in the middle of the church ball Frenzy during the late 70s and 80s and this type of behavior was very rare indeed.

  • freight-train , CA
    July 15, 2019 1:21 p.m.

    This is hilarious! Sounds like of all the more serious and violent-filled stories I’ve ever heard of and seen in church basketball, a ticky-tac case made it to the highest court in the state. I mean “three years later...?” Really? My guess is this guy needs his defender to pay for his knee replacement now and can’t afford it on his own.

  • 1071Utah Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2019 1:19 p.m.

    Just sad!

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 15, 2019 1:06 p.m.

    Sounds to me like the guy got the foul, and assumable his two shots, or that they were taken by someone else on the team if he was unable to continue.

    Sounds to me like a money chaser, who wants to take it all the way to the Supreme Court and waste tax payer money for their time. Selfish.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 15, 2019 1:03 p.m.

    What a load. Hopefully Clay's homeowner's policy is covering his legal fees. I can't believe you would sue someone for an injury in a basketball game. It's the inherent risk in playing sports.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    July 15, 2019 12:57 p.m.

    Best advice I ever heard at the beginning of a church basketball game when our Stake Athletic Director, who was also one of the referees for the game said, "I guarantee the officiating will be as professional and skilled as the playing."