“We’re all really close so it’ll be fun playing them,” Ganser said. “It’s a lot of fun. We say hi to each other during the game, and we both know we’re going to go equally hard just to see whose team is better, I guess. It definitely doesn’t affect our friendship, wins or losses, but it’s fun to see them on the court.”
For a few months out of the year, those who play AAU make new friends from different towns, playing a sport they love, and the relationships often extend well beyond the spring and summer seasons. Take Burton and Berkowitz, who didn’t know each other until meeting as Jaguars teammates.
Now they are best friends.
“We talk all the time, we work out together, we just have the same mentality,” Burton said. “When we have frustration problems we wan to talk about, she’ll call me or I’ll call her, and we’ll vent about it. We try to see what ideas we can bounce off of each other during the high school season, too.”
That’s the part of the AAU experience that Arlington Catholic coach Dave Brady said he thinks is most beneficial — even if the relationships his players have with opponents at other schools occasionally take the edge off his pregame speeches.
“I’ll say to my girls, ‘OK, they’re the enemy,’ ” Brady said. “Then we go out on to the floor, and they’re all hugging each other. But that part of it is nice. The friendships are a real positive.”
Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com.