Background I played in two different pick-up games in college - a game with fellow undergraduates, and one with University staff ages 25-60. Each game had its disadvantages, but it was always good-natured fun. I don't know what it is about Chicago, but people here take it way too seriously. I have played at two different gyms around my neighborhood; each experience sucked. Attempt 1 Location: X-Sport Gym The crowd: mostly African-American men ages 25-35, lower class The problems: -fouls committed on every play (I couldn't even make a pass without getting hacked across the arms) -fouls called even when there was none (I absorbed the impact of a 200-pound black man driving to the basket, and he called a foul on me after missing his shot) -at one point people yelled at each other for literally 5 minutes over a loose-ball call. This was common. -after my team won, one of my teammates said to the other team "Get the fuck off the court!" These guys are friends who play together regularly Attempt 2 Location: DePaul's Ray Meyer Fitness Center The crowd: mostly African-American men ages 18-30, middle class The problems: -a complete lack of passing (except for one sweet alley-oop, which was ironically dunked by a 6'1" white guy) -I was fighting for position against the guy I was guarding before the ball was even passed in, and he fuckin throws an elbow at my mid section. Luckily it hit my forearm, which started to cramp up as the game went on. Closing comments These guys are taking pick-up ball way too seriously. To me it's about having fun, getting exercise, and not getting injured (a goal resulting from a shattered knee cap last year). Instead these guys pet their egos with ridiculous shots that go in 20% of the time. Then they seem surprised and upset when their team loses. I'm about to give up on finding good basketball games in the city.
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6/19/10 at 12:32am