Local Basketball Team Fires Starting Five, Replaces Center with General Manager


Daniel Kochupura, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Opinion Editor

Note: This is not an article about the administrative changes which occurred at Sewickley Academy over the summer.

Steve Torchelli had a bad feeling when his pocket buzzed with news from his favorite team, the Edgeworth Lions. Last season, the Lions’ locker room had been full of tension and disagreement, and Torchelli’s intuition told him it would get worse before it got better. His fears were confirmed as he read the message from general manager Henry Furthins: “Due to disagreements over how to tie athletic footwear for maximum performance, the Edgeworth Lions and all five starters have decided to part ways.”

Forces have clashed in basketball courts across the nation as two sides debate which way of tying a pair of shoes reigns supreme: two-loops or one-and-a-string. The idea of one-and-a-string has been around for decades, but a lack of understanding in the basketball world has fueled fear and resentment for the method. 

Mr. Torchelli, who has been following the Edgeworth Lions for a number of years, said he has been watching the shoelaces disagreement on a national level but did not expect to be so immediately affected. He told Voices, “I saw it happening everywhere, but I didn’t anticipate the impact here. The locker room was already divided… I guess it only needed one more fracture to completely implode. I just didn’t expect it to be shoelaces.”

Among the players departing the team is veteran center Kayden O’Keefe. Over nearly two decades, O’Keefe had led Edgeworth into hundreds of games and provided much-needed expertise. The veteran was well-respected around the league, and, until his departure, there were no reports of friction between O’Keefe and the front office. His sudden exit seemed ill-fitting to some fans. Their opinions became more pronounced when O’Keefe stated he had never tied his shoes with one loop. 

Replacing Kayden O’Keefe, for the immediate future, will be the same general manager who fired him. It’s unclear how much actual experience GM Henry Furthins has playing, but according to reports, he seems to think he has spent enough time watching O’Keefe battle in the paint to quickly step in and do a better job.

Furthins said at a press conference, “We want a team free of loop bias and shoelace indoctrination. It’s not that we don’t trust our players to make the decisions that put forth their best basketball—we just recognize we probably haven’t put them in a position to know what good basketball looks like.”

As other teams’ fans began to tune to the press conference online, Furthins charged on, saying, “We had to make decisions to raise Edgeworth standards of athletic excellence, so we chose shoelaces as our main issue. Other teams are concerned with ‘signing the best players’ and ‘renovating facilities’ and ‘hiring world-class coaches’ but the Lions do things differently. We focus on how the little stringy things on the gloves of the walking-arms get moved around to form a lace knot. That’s what matters. That’s Edgeworth basketball.”

The departures of the Lions’ center, point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and director of teaching and learning open up opportunities for those who either tie their shoes a certain way or are willing to stay quiet about their divergent methods. One such player, who has asked to remain anonymous, told Voices, “My teammates ask me why I’m bawling uncontrollably on the sideline before the in-bound. I don’t know what to tell them. I worry others are watching me tie my laces, but it’s not my fault I’m slow at it. I learned the other way. Now we have this new way… it’s just really really stressful.”

Despite recent events, Furthins doubled down with the Eight Entry newspaper last week. He told them, “We need to restore things to the way they were. Am I referring to the period when the league only allowed clogs? Who knows. But what I will say about that era is that we didn’t have any of these shoelace controversies. That’s for sure.”