Backyard Basketball

January 10, 2021

A backyard basketball story

The day after Christmas, I spent some time playing backyard basketball with my nephew and some of his friends. Covid-19 is here and in full effect. I have not been playing much basketball and have darn sure not played ball with people I have never met but the calling this time was too strong.

Summer did not go as planned

My nephew graduated from high school last year. He was supposed to come up this summer to play basketball as one last attempt to have carefree fun. We anticipated the gyms being open and having beautiful Colorado weather as normal. We were partially right, the weather was great. The gyms however were not open.

As most of you already know, gyms shut down in March of 2020 due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Covid concerns cancelled the high school basketball championship and spring sports. Needless to say, summer did not go as planned.

When I was invited to play, it was nearly impossible to say no. There were supposed to be a limited number of participants and any of them could have cancelled at any time. My brother and I were going to be on the same team. We wanted to put a whoopin’ on the kids and show them how the old guys played. I knew we would win. About a week before the tournament, my brother bailed out. He said he had to work instead.

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I strategized ways to get out of playing after my brother bailed. My wife was unhappy with my decision to go play citing Covid as a major factor. While I understood her concern, I wanted to see how good these kids were.

Begrudgingly, I ended up driving the hour and half to meet my nephew.

I say kids and they are all high school age or older. Some of them may have played on a high school team. I was not expecting there to be super high level competition and found myself looking for a way out. The initial excitement had waned and I was struggling to see the positive in the situation.

The day finally arrived and I had not bailed yet. Begrudgingly, I ended up driving the hour and half to meet my nephew. When I arrived at his house, I knew I had made the correct decision. He greeted me with a big smile and we made our way to the backyard basketball court. I realized why I had initially been excited to go in that moment. The weather was perfect and I was spending time with family. It was time that we so desperately needed this year.

We shot around and talked while waiting for the others to show up. I put my Covid concerns aside because we were outside with a small amount of people. The Backyard Basketball tournament was actually going to happen.

The participants were being paired and the brackets created. I got a lucky draw and landed a solid teammate. Again, I knew we would win. My teammate is an aggressive player with a nice ability to finish around the rim. This tournament was going to be a cakewalk.

The Tournament Teams

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The Tournament Begins

We started out with pool play as there were 5 teams total. My team won our games and went into seeding with the top spot. We received the bye and were automatically in the championship game. The rest of the teams had to fight their way through the brackets to come after us. Somehow we ended up playing one of the teams we had already beaten in pool play for the championship game. They were tired after their third consecutive game. The championship game had arrived.

I was a little worried going in to the final game. We had been sitting for over an hour and the sun was setting. The beautiful 60 degree Colorado weather had now plummeted to 45. It was cold and neither my teammate or I had warmed our bodies up enough to get out to a good start. The opponents had just played three and were still hot. Were we about to get beat? The score was near tied as we headed into the second half of the game.

I guess it is time to pass the torch to the next generation.

After halftime, we found our groove. Their defense was tough and we managed to increase our lead. We cruised to victory. The backyard basketball tournament had been completed. A few of the guys stuck around for a few minutes to chat but the day was over and we were all excited to head for the warmth and comfort of home.

I stayed for a minute to help clean up and spend a little more time with my nephew. We decided to play a little one on one just for fun. The kid is no longer a little boy. Long gone are the days of beating him easily. He plays tough D and has some pretty good moves. He juked me more than once and was able to get around my defense. I guess it is time to pass the torch to the next generation.

On second thought, maybe we will wait to pass the torch until he can beat me. Until next time. Play hard and stay cool.

-Adam