Friday, September 18, 2009
Time to Write Down the Unwritten Rules of Pick-up Basketball
I love Hawaii. I really do. This place is amazing, there's nothing in the world like it. But there's two things about Hawaii that I can't stand: 1.) The lack of quality Mexican food, and 2.) People don't know how to conduct themselves on the basketball court.
I've been playing pick-up basketball a long time and I've watched it for even longer. My Dad would play every Saturday morning at Walter Haas Park in Diamond Heights and he'd take me with him when I was 4. I literally grew up watching, and playing it. There's something beautiful about pick-up ball. 10 strangers just competing, no shoe deals, no commercials, no instant replay, no thousands of people in attendance, just playing for the love of the game. You can tell a lot about a person by how they conduct themselves on the court, how they react to a call, how they treat their teammates and opponents, and how they react after a win or a loss.
But for whatever reason, players in Hawaii aren't as refined to the game as on the Mainland, and the one that are, aren't from here. There's a certain etiquette to streetball, unwritten rules that palyers have to follow, and I'm going to write them down.
1.) Full court games gotta have 10 people, 5-on-5. Anything less goes half-court.
2.) All games go to 15 by 1s and 2s. If there is more than one team, 5 people waiting, games go to 11. The point is to get as many games in as a possible.
3.) You gotta win by 2.
4.) Winning team gets to stay on the court. Always.
5.) Find 4 other people, and call "Next." Loud. Really loud. So that everyone at the park can hear you. You can't call Next until you have a whole team.
6.) If there are less than 5 people waiting, losing team shoots free throws to determine who gets to fill in for the Next team. Everyone gets to shoot at least once.
7.) Score is always announced after every basket and before every inbound.
8.) Last game of the night always goes to 21.
9.) (There's always a debate of who should call fouls, offense or defense. I don't really think it matters, but this will help clarify it.) Only the person committing the foul, or the person getting fouled can call the foul. If you're standing at the 3-point line or running up court when someone hets hacked in the key, don't say anything.
10.) No ticky-tack calls. If it's game point, and someone calls 3-in-the-key, when it hasn't been called all game long, it's ok to call that person names that are also women's genitalia and say thigns about their mother.
11.) Expect contact. People here take contact too personally. It's a physical game. You have 10 people on a court, jostling for position, battling for rebounds, and swatitng at the ball. Every now and again there's going to be some contact that might be a little harder than expected, take them accordingly and don't be an idiot and start an altercation.
Now print this out and send it to every park and court on the Island.