Interesting situation at Ohlone Park the other day. My team is playing against a team with a couple of young (17-19yo), but very talented, players. The girlfriend of one of the young guys is watching the game. I'm guarding the other young guy.
From the start, it's clear that the guy with the girlfriend is gonna be playing mainly to impress her. He barely plays defense, and shoots every time he touches the ball. His teammates are getting irritated. His girlfriend, meanwhile, is completely oblivious and text messages the whole time. Every time Boyfriend scores, he runs by Girlfriend with his chest puffed out; she could care less. In the end, they lose despite being the more talented squad. I think that they would have won if Boyfriend had been playing it straight. A telling moment: Boyfriend has a fast break opportunity (he never came back on defense), gets overexcited and botches a dunk. I turn to his buddy and say, "if his girl wasn't here, that woulda be a layup." His friend nods and frowns.
So what of this? It's tricky, but I feel that these situations can be manipulated. For example, you could funnel the ball to Boyfriend and force him into tough shots. But you don't want to go too far with this strategy because he might legitimately go off and score all the points. And the last thing an aging baller needs is to be near a young punk who's all smiles because he just won the game in front of his sweetheart. Your thoughts? Other strategies? Similar experiences?