A photo essay by Lauren Teixeira
If I had not grasped the insane love of basketball among Chinese boys before I came to China, I was aware of it by the end of teaching my first English class. During the obligatory introduction session my male students, one after the other, told me that their hobbies were “basketball and computer games”. But really, I needed only consult my roster. Over the course of one year in Nanjing, I taught approximately five Kobes, two Bryants, three Derrick Roses, two Peirces, a Wade and an Iverson.
Despite the widespread passion for the game, which is played in most Chinese schools, kids have little chance to enjoy it in their free time. It broke my heart to see how stressed out my students were, studying from sunrise to sundown. This basketball tournament was the first time I had seen them truly excited. I started to bring my camera to their daily twenty-minute lunchtime matches. This is how I want to remember my students – cheering, captivated, momentarily forgetful of schoolwork, shooting for the hoop.
Lauren Teixeira is a 2014 graduate of Grinnell College and a 2014-2015 Grinnell-Nanjing Fellow