This morning the HB and I are watching the Olympics basketball games. Maybe our baby girl will learn something in utero. She does plenty of athletics herself, usually around midnight. During a quick break they were showing how popular NBA stars are among the youth in China and I was reminded of playing basketball in Japan.
When I lived there I went to church at an LDS "branch" some 40 minutes from where I was living. The meetings were held in a rented building downtown where one floor became our church on Sundays. Occasionally, the church members would have a social get-together to play sports and socialize outside of church meetings. It was a very small group, and an even smaller group among us that would play sports when we did get together. There would be a handful of Japanese and then a few English teachers and a couple of missionaries. Apparently, Mormon missionaries have a rule that says they cannot play basketball full-court but can only play half-court games while on their missions. The LDS Branch President was very fond of basketball and would get very excited about these games. He didn't speak much English, but he would get a grand idea and say loudly, "okay okay, let's play, the Americans, versus the Japanese!" very dramatically as if that would make the game very very intense. The missionaries would always respond okay, but they can only play half-court. Finally the Branch President, tired of trying to fight the rules, suggested this: "You say half court like one half, two half" indicating a bisection in the court as it would normally be played. "But I say half court is one half, two half" and he demonstrated with his hands how "half-court" could mean playing only the middle portion of the entire length of court.
The missionaries were very faithful to their rules and we ended up playing the traditional half-court, but we laughed about the suggestion for weeks and how happy the idea of surreptitiously playing full court had made our Branch President.