Athletics Unlimited brings on March Madness

Diana Kohr

Not only does Lynbrook’s March Madness, an annual basketball competition held by Athletics Unlimited, coincide with the popular March Madness tournament hosted by NCAA, it also allows students to form lasting bonds over recreational basketball. This year, the tournament took place on March 9 and March 10 during lunch in the field house. 

As Athletics Unlimited’s most recent competition, following the annual dodgeball tournament held in October and the all-new Brains and Brawns competition held in February, seniors Jessica Atmadja and Allison Li, as well as juniors Fred Lee and Eric Zhang, worked  hard to ensure that March Madness went smoothly. 

“The purpose of Athletics Unlimited events is to raise community awareness about different kinds of athletics,” Li said. “We try to get the whole community involved, especially since March Madness is one of our more popular events.”

In order to maximize the number of games that can be held during lunch, each half court game lasts eight minutes. The games are played three on three, and each team is allowed one substitute. Both teams are required to have at least one girl on the court at all times, and are limited to one male varsity basketball player on the court. 

“This rule has been effective at preventing one team from completely dominating,” said Atmadja. “Also, it actually helps to create more teams because, in order to play, the varsity players need to form separate teams.” 

Shots scored from beyond the three-point line count for two points, while shots scored from inside the three-point line count for one. In the event of a tie at the end of eight minutes, the two teams play for an additional one minute, and if they remain tied, each player on both teams shoots a free throw. The team with the player that misses a free throw first loses.

Other regulations regarding fouls are intended to keep the games competitive, yet safe. 

This year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event organizers had to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks to hosting the competition. After consulting the club adviser Jeffrey Bale, they decided to host the tournament, although students would not be allowed to spectate. Eventually, the last day of the tournament, March 13, was cancelled in light of the news that school would be closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Because March Madness occurs every year, most issues are anticipated,” Lee said. “As for other events, logistics and communications between students, officers, teachers and staff may sometimes be challenging. This year, however, we had to make adjustments due to the exclusion of spectators and school cancellation.”

These were difficult decisions to make, but the organizers considered student safety to be their first priority. 

“Ever since the end of ASB having an athletics commission, Lynbrook Athletics Unlimited was founded to fill the gap and provide fun, interesting and entertaining ways for the student body to participate in various forms of athletics,” Lee said. 

Due to the unforeseen situation that arose, this year’s tournament may not have been the smoothest, but with students looking forward to next year’s March Madness, it is clear that Athletics Unlimited organizers have been able to fulfill this purpose to the best of their ability.