Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Basketball
January 28, 2021 3:44 PM - Season 20, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Suzie McConnell stops by and shows Mister Rogers some drills she uses to improve her basketball skills. In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the team is being outfitted for their first game. Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely watch a tape of Dance Alloy rolling around on large green balls to music.

Mister Rogers demonstrates a Neighborhood of Make-Believe board game and says that games don’t play themselves, they need people to play them. Mrs. McFeely delivers a large green ball.

Suzie McConnell stops by and shows Mister Rogers some drills she uses to improve her basketball skills. They talk about learning and teaching.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the team is being outfitted for their first game. Queen Sara excuses herself to do something else she enjoys. Lady Aberlin helps Daniel put on his outfit, explains the word outfit to him, and says that both winning and losing are acceptable. Lady Aberlin and Daniel asks X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat to join the team.

Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely watch a tape of a group of people, called Dance Alloy, rolling around on large green balls to music. Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely try doing some of the same motions on the large green ball. Mister Rogers says learning some things takes lots of trying and hard work but gives one a good feeling afterward.

Watch online at Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (available January 18-31 or so)

Episode 1604 at The Neighborhood Archive
posted by kristi (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The board game

When Mister Rogers says "Some friends of mine made up a new game" and holds up the board game box, I thought, "Wait - you can make up your own board games?" I mean, of course you can, it's not uncommon at all these days, but it still seems novel to me, and I love the way he's always, always encouraging kids to make their own fun, their own toys and musical instruments and make-believe games.

I love that each person gets a trolley as their game piece.

At the end, when he says, "What you do with a game when you finish playing with it, you know - put it away," I get a wistful feeling of wishing I had proper places to put all my stuff away (I am an inveterate packrat) and a reassuring feeling from the idea of having that habit and living in a world where things have proper places to live.

The great big exercise ball

Watching him play with the big exercise ball is great - "I wonder how a person would play with a ball like this?" - just the look on his face when he starts to fall off after sitting on it. He's having such a good time!

Suzie McConnell and basketball

Mister Rogers is so tickled when he misses shooting the basket - he almost seems to enjoy that more than his successful basket.

I love that he never qualifies her achievement by gender - "She's one of the great basketball players in the world," he says, not "one of the best women basketball players." I wouldn't expect him to minimize her achievements that way - but it often feels like we still hear that kind of phrasing a lot, and it's so nice to hear him just state that she's one of the best, period. (I know nothing about basketball, and looking her up in Wikipedia, I see that she's a WNBA Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, which kind of proves my point.)

The two of them talk a lot about how it takes a lot of practice to get good at something, and the cumulative effect of that message across this week of shows strikes me as so much healthier than the typical message of Western society - we're often told you have to work hard to get something: get ahead, get a scholarship, get a better job, get enough money to buy whatever. But Mister Rogers emphasizes that it takes a lot of work to get good at something - but then you enjoy that thing even more because now you're better at it, and it feels good to get better at something you enjoy, whether it's basketball or dance or walking on stilts. You do it for YOU, for your own enjoyment and sense of satisfaction.

What a concept.

I thought it was wonderful at the end, when he tells Suzie "We're very proud of you in this neighborhood."


I love that Queen Sarah doesn't want to play - and that's okay. "I really don't care to play on the team right now," she says. "You know a person can't do everything and I have some other fun things that I want to do." Mister Rogers was so insightful to recognize how hard it can be for children to be able to say "no" - and he returns again and again to the idea that it's okay to want something different from your friends, and there's nothing wrong with saying "no thank you" or "I'd rather not."

Another fun scene with puppets on the move: Daniel goes with Lady Aberlin over to X and Henrietta's, leaving his clock and traveling on her arm. (And they have a brief snuggle on the way!)

So, now we've got a Pussycat-Owl-King-Woman-Dog-Boy-Girl-Reindeer-Tiger Team. Goodness.

I love that Trolley has a "Yeah Team" banner.

Dance Alloy film

Mr. McFeely: "It's one of my favorite films!"

I was not expecting to like this as much as I did. I thought the dance and the performance were very cool and very fun. The Neighborhood Archive says the music heard in the video is Numbers 1-4 by Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

At the end, Mr. McFeely says, "I'll take the ball, and I'll take the tape," and I was a little miffed - what if Mister Rogers wanted to play with the ball some more? Hah.

Favorite quotes:

Mister Rogers: "It takes people to play a game. Games don't play themselves."

Mister Rogers: "You MAY want to feed the fish."
Suzie: "I'd love to!"

Daniel Tiger: "But what if we don't win the game?"
Lady Aberlin: "Then we'll lose."

Mister Rogers: "So Queen Sarah would rather watch the game and not play. And that was all right! But X and Henrietta really DID want to play, and they were afraid that nobody wanted them.
"Well, it was good that they could talk about it."

Mister Rogers:
There - we've done a lot today, haven't we? Our time together. And we'll do a lot more tomorrow.

You know, to make something beautiful, like the ballet, or to do something very well, like Suzie McConnell and her basketball, takes a lot of trying - and it can really be fun, though - after all the work of learning.

And what a good feeling you get when you've learned something that you've really tried hard to learn.


This is the second day in a row that Mister Rogers has taken off his shoes at the end of the show BUT NOT PUT ANY OTHER SHOES ON! What can it possibly mean?
posted by kristi at 4:22 PM on January 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Gosh - I just realized there were no songs other than the usual opening and closing songs. How unusual!
posted by kristi at 4:30 PM on January 28, 2021

I just discovered your recaps today and I love them I hope you continue!
posted by bookmammal at 5:46 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

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