Here at the Frappe, we’re trying to pass along the knowledge in all walks of life. Last week, Intrinsic gave you the scoop on what to wear while on the court or the field. Today, I’m going to break down the various locations that I’ve played pick up basketball at, and discuss their pros and cons. Basically, your options are outdoor parks, school gyms, community centers and churches.
If you’ve got a school gym or a community center of some sort, you can probably find whatever you’re looking for. There’s going to be the ballers who’ve played together for the last 3 years and have mastered the alley-oop like Maurice Clarett has mastered negative publicity. But look over to the side and you’ll find a few normal looking dudes wanting a sixth for 3 on 3 half court.
Outdoor parks are a bit more inconsistent. I only play at one of these locations if I won’t feel too bad about going home feeling like I wasted a couple hours. It’s not uncommon to find myself playing against a group of guys who would much rather instigate a fist fight rather than see our little match to completion. This is more annoying than anything else; depending on the neighborhood and your own temper, I doubt that you are going to find yourself in any real danger.
Obviously, the church crowd is a little different. Not that everyone who plays basketball in a church on Tuesday night is an angel, but typically when someone steps out of line, you can generally appeal to a higher authority to bring them back down to the right level. One thing to look out for though, every church is going to have its own home rules. I recently played ball at a Mormon church, and was quite proud of the fact that I had just taken a charge, only to be informed that this particular court did not recognize offensive fouls. I was so dumbfounded that I didn’t realize until later that not only was the charge not called, but they stuck me with a defensive foul in place.
Protestant churches typically have a bit more edge to them, which I think is a good thing for the most part. I have yet to investigate any Catholic courts or synagogues, so if anyone wants to chime in with some data on any of these, it would be greatly appreciated.