I was always tall for my age so was encouraged to play basketball. I was awful. Thought too much and did not play automatically. Played Biddy Basketball for the Laurels AC with our orange and black uniforms. I was also the third string center for West Rocks Junior High School team in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was the only player not to score any points. The only basket I made was nullified for a goal tending violation. My ongoing claim to fame was to have been on the same team and Calvin Murphy. He was only 5’ 8” but went on to play for the Houston Rockets and made the Hall of Fame. Ed Mewing was our coach. I continue to follow basketball. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, I can’t resist watching our Women’s Basketball team. As a resident of Tucson, I follow the University of Arizona’s Women’s Basketball team.
What does this all have to do with mediation? As I have recently watched the games, I realized that the jump ball or now the opening tip is only used to start a half. When I played basketball and two players both grabbed the ball, there was a jump ball to determine possession.
Now since about 1981, most competitions use the alternating possession rule to settle all jump ball situations after the opening tip. This uses a possession arrow on the scorekeeper’s table. Whenever such a jump ball situation occurs, the team whose basket that the possession arrow is currently pointing to gets the ball. The arrow then swaps to point to the other team. At the start of the game, the arrow points to the team that lost the opening tip.
In mediation and in particular divorce mediation, we have to determine possession. Who has possession of the children, the cars, the home, the bank accounts and much more. More often than not and especially in a litigated divorce, the dispute is settled with an approach similar to a jump ball. In mediation we don’t always alternate possession but we often use that or another approach which is less competitive than a jump ball. It not only speeds up the process but seems to work better.
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