Magnify Your Colin: Church Ball


I’m Colin Rivera, and this is
Magnify Your Colin. I come from the merry land of England, where
we have a rich sporting tradition. I’ve come here to Salt Lake City, Utah, to
explore one of America’s richest sporting pastimes—one that Latter-day Saints have
actually dominated for the last several decades. Of course, I’m talking about Church ball. Do you guys play Church basketball? I’ve played many Church basketball games. Do you see how tall I am? You could be Steph Curry, it’s fine, just
draining three’s. Why do you play Church basketball? Because I’m old, and fat, and it gives me
something to do at night. For the love of the game. Can you describe Church basketball for me
in one word? Aggressive. Intense. Abuse. Glorious. Blood sport. Murder. What advice do you have for someone like me who is playing Church basketball
for the first time? Wear pads. Keep your elbows up. And pointy? Pray. What is the secret to having a dominating
basketball team for your ward? Height. Tall people. You’ve got to be tall. So basically, be big and talented at basketball,
and your team will be good? Just like in college, right? Groundbreaking journalism we have here! Do you have any good trash talk that I could
steal? Maybe use it on the court? You try not to talk trash because you’re in
church, right? Yeah, but I mean… My mama shoots better than you. You know, alternative curse words are really
funny. They’re spontaneous, you know? You’ve just got to feel it. You just have to—exactly! How many fights have you witnessed on a Church
basketball court? Oh, there’s no fighting at Church ball. I’ve been kicked out of a few games. More than should happen. How many have you been in? It hasn’t been really fighting, it’s been
more shoving and just getting in each other’s face. Yeah, how does that work on Sunday though? I’ll see you at stake conference, buddy. These interviews were a great first step in
understanding the world of Church ball. But because I’m a serious journalist, I knew I
had to go one step further for the story. I had to find a game. So are you guys playing Church basketball
tonight? Can I join you guys? No. Not tonight. No. You guys don’t happen to have a Church basketball
game tonight do you? Yeah! Come with us. Wait, really? Yeah. I can join in? We’re doing this! We are doing this! How’s it going, guys? You alright? Aw, man! I’ll just be a second. Don’t want to pull a hammy, right? Little do these guys know, you’re looking
at the 2001 most valuable player in the West Sussex, England, junior high basketball league. So yeah, you could say I have a little bit
of basketball experience. I’m open! Hey! I’ve got this, guys. Hey, look! I’m right here, I’m open! I’m open! I’m open! Aw. Okay, I would have made that better, but
it’s fine. Good job! Good job, guys. Come on, guys! I can’t do this all myself. I’m open! Are you serious? Come on, you’ve got to pass it better than
that. Come on! So, I think it’s going really well, like, I
haven’t scored any points yet, per se, but I’ve got all the intangibles covered: I’m all heart, I’m all gusto, I have the biggest
will to win. Look, even the crowd is behind me! Like, I just need my teammates to rise to
my level and we’re going to be fine. We’re going to win this. We’ve got this. Okay guys, come on! I can’t do this all myself, come on! Colin, we need to get at least one shot with
the ball. I don’t know what else to do, like, no one’s
passing me the ball. I’m super open, like, I’m just standing… Figure it out. Do something. It was clear I needed to use some of the advice
I discovered in my research earlier. I would have to up my trash talk and aggression—two things I had perfected while growing up on the mean streets of West Sussex, England. You can’t score on me, man. You can’t score
on me ’cause I’m taller than you. Aw, that was lucky. The queen of England plays better defense
than you. She’s, like, 99. Fair enough. I’m open! I’m right here! Yes! Come on, you’ve got to give better passes
than that. I need a better pass than that, come on, guys. How am I doing, coach? Well, honestly, not great. Work on those layups. Get out there and do it again, and get smooth. Okay. Okay? Okay. Do you want some? No, thank you. Okay, let’s go. Come on, come on. Foul! Foul. That’s a foul. Come on guys, foul! Foul! Let me help you up. Wait, really? Oh yeah, come on. Ready one, two… Thank you. Thanks, guys. Thanks. I’m going to get through this. You guys are good ministers. That’s good. Thank you. I was confused. I had heard tales of abuse and even murder,
but this wasn’t my experience at all. My investigative prowess must have uncovered
a side of Church ball no one’s ever seen. Hugs? No fights, but you guys are going to hug? Yeah, bring it in, man! Aw, okay. Good job, guys. Well, you can’t always win. So sweaty… But these guys showed me that Church basketball is about so much more than that. It’s about brotherly love, acceptance, and
friendly competition. I did it. I did Church ball. Good one, well done. Get the lead out. Come on, boy!

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