by JOEL SMITH & r & & r & HOOPFEST FOR SCREAMERS
You've got a lawn chair, a tube of sunscreen, a gallon jug of Gatorade and three beautiful square feet of concrete reserved for you on the sidewalk. You're all ready to watch total strangers (or your kid niece) sweat over a leather basketball for the next two days. But to be a true fan, you gotta be a little vocal. It helps, too, if you have some understanding of what you're watching. Here's a quick primer.
THIS AIN'T THE NBA
If you showed up this weekend expecting to see Jordan's grace and LeBron's cool under pressure, you'll be surprised. Hoopfest players are considerably whiter and spectacularly less talented than the pros.
There are a number of other important distinctions to note, too. For instance, there's no shot clock at Hoopfest, though there is a game clock, which runs for 20 minutes. The winner is the first to 20 points, or the leader after 20 minutes. Once the score gets up to the high teens -- or the clock winds down to about two minutes -- start putting on the vocal pressure.
Another difference: scoring. Avoid urging Maggie to "go for the three." Do urge a two-pointer, though, as regular shots are worth one point and long-distance shots are worth two, making the latter like an NBA four-point shot, in that it's actually worth twice as much as a regular field goal -- in street ball, an invaluable tool.
Don't bother rallying for a big dunk, either. Outside of the elite level (where the backboards are much sturdier), dunks are verboten.
GET A ROPE, GET A TREE
Don't waste your breath on the ref, either. While the elite games are presided over by actual referees who do actual refereeing, the rest of the courts are run by volunteer "court monitors," who act more as peacekeepers than judges. Court monitors only call the most egregious infractions, preferring to let players call their own fouls. They'll step in to cool arguments when they get heated, but otherwise they're simply there to make sure their court runs smoothly. Meaning they won't hesitate to boot you should you become too belligerent. Make nice with the court monitors. They're just trying to get through the day, and they're not going to call that elbow-to-the-spine foul anyway.
X's AND O's
Half-court, three-on-three basketball presents a whole series of challenges to a player -- and a spectator -- more accustomed to the full-court, five-on-five variety. With fewer players to pass to, and less space to move the ball in, play gets tight and the number of options dwindles. Add to this the fact that this is amateur ball -- not highly rehearsed, thoroughly play-booked pro ball -- and you have the recipe for a lot of clumsy bumbling and physical grappling.
Nonetheless, there are a few very common plays you're likely to see used again and again. The first is the pick and roll, in which a teammate uses his body to impede the ballhandler's opponent, letting the ballhandler sail past unguarded. The blocker then pivots toward the basket, open for a quick layup. When your team's on defense, and you see the pick-and-roll coming, shout for them to "watch the screen." The key to a good pick-and-roll is surprising the defense.
There's also the back-door cut, which can take several forms but boils down to a member of the offense (usually, one who's out on the wing) feinting away from the basket, then slicing toward the basket and receiving a quick pass for a lay-up. Look for a lot of zigzags under the basket which throw off the defender.
Because of the added value of the two-pointer, make sure your team's watching for the three-point screen (two-point screen, in this case) which is a lot like the pick-and-roll, except that teammates are trying to block the ballhandler's opponent to give the baller room for a clear two-point shot.
If you don't see any of these plays -- if all motion on the court looks random -- relax: You're witnessing a typical streetball game.
Colorful commentary from the sidelines is every bit as crucial to the theater of streetball as is the play itself. So don't stand there averring that the power forward "has an admirable dexterity and an inspiring command of the game's mechanics." Pick up at least a few bits of streetball lingo. If that power forward dribbles effortlessly, then he's got sweet "handles." If he's got a killer vertical leap, then he's got "hops" or "ups." A fancy pass is a "dish." An ugly shot is a "brick." A fluid shot is "water," or "cash," or "money." Get comfortable with these, then improvise and make up your own.
It's important to make sure your team knows when they're about to get screened. Equally important, though, is to make sure your point guard doesn't keel over in the hot sun. Signs of hyperthermia include confusion, hostility and headaches (all normal signs of street basketball, come to think of it). If your player gets dizzy and turns blue, then it's serious. Call an ambulance.
BY MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & HOOPFEST VS. THE COMPETITION & r & & r & "We're Number One!" Fanatics point their fingers skyward and chant this slogan every time their team wins a preliminary-round game in the Maryland state lacrosse tournament. But when it comes to large-scale 3-on-3-in-the-streets tournaments, Spokane really is Number One.
by TIM BROSS & r & & r & YOUR GUIDE TO GETTING OUT OF DODGE & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & alk about wrong place at the wrong time. Picture the scene: heat rivaling the temperatures inside your mouth (that's 98.6 for those keeping score at home), capital punishment masquerading as basketball and enough people to make Dick Clark agoraphobic. And you. You hate hoops. You want to beat the heat. And you need something -- anything -- to occupy your time. Luckily, the Inlander has got your back. We've even planned your day.
Breakfast: Arny's, 1229 N. Hamilton St.
Why: You have a long day ahead of you, so make the most important meal of the day memorable. I suggest the Bomber Omelet (half a dozen eggs, green peppers, onions, ham, stromboli, cheese, hash browns and toast), enough food to intimidate the likes of Takeru Kobayashi. What Arny's lacks in square footage it compensates for in local color, service and the epitome of an anti-Spartan breakfast.
Mid-Morning Activity: The rope swing. To get there, follow Mission Ave. east, and turn left on Upriver Drive; you should see Avista Utilities off to the left. Follow Upriver Drive for 3.6 miles. You will see parking on the right.
Why: Welcome to the rope swing, a venue straight out of Deliverance. Bask in the glory of Spokanites bearing a resemblance to characters from The Hills Have Eyes and Keystone Ice flowing like the Spokane River. If you're not into rope swinging, there are trees to be jumped off and ample people-watching to be done. And if you're concerned about your safety, police cruise the area regularly. To look for escaped convicts.
Lunch: Dick's Hamburgers, 10 E. Third Ave.
Why: It's lunchtime, and you've probably worked up an appetite. Unfortunately, you're headed back to the downtown area. Fortunately, there's nothing like a bag full of Dick's burgers to fill you up. The joint has been a Spokane staple since 1965 and is renowned for its sack full of ground round and the $1.59 Whammy, a choice so popular even 509 native Neil Everett frequently references it on ESPN's SportsCenter. And like the colorful vagabonds loitering the premises of the eatery, Dick's only accepts cash.
Afternoon Activity: Dave Smith Motors, 210 N. Division St., Kellogg, Idaho
Why: It's time to contribute to that darned Inconvenient Truth, global warming! You'll be headed to Dave Smith Motors. The Mecca of automobiles. "Hassle-free buying." Greenhouse gas. The giant auto mall is practically a Northwest landmark, and customers have voiced their praises on Dave's Website (www.davesmithautos.com). Linda Hill, for one, is "very pleased with [her] new Dodge truck." So now that we've managed to get you out of Dodge, you can buy one, too.
Dinner: The Globe, 204 N. Division
Why: If Dave Smith didn't steal your soul, you've earned yourself a nice dinner. Though the Globe is located near Hoopfest activities, it's secluded enough for you to eat in peace. Inside, you'll find plenty of pool tables, sparse seating and a bafflingly expansive Scotch selection. Grab yourself the Muffuletta -- a N'awlins dish -- and a Glenlivet. I promise your belly will feel good, even if your pocketbook doesn't.
Evening Activity: Fast Eddie's, 1 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Why: A half-court basketball heave from the Globe is your final destination, Fast Eddie's. Though no fasting occurs here -- and perhaps only the occasional Eddie -- the bar is rich in atmosphere, d & eacute;cor and hair gel. If you can procure identification stating your birthday as the day you visit Fast Eddie's, you will be grant one wheel spin. Most spins yield in-store credit, which, inevitably, leads to... the spins.
AS CHOSEN BY MICHAEL BOWEN AND TIM BROSS & r & & r & Abominable Yetis
All Day Bowen
All Weight, No Height
Beer Pong Champs
Beyond the Ark
Bits of Real Panther
Bluto Is Great
By "We," I Mean Me
Friel the Heat
Frogs in a Blender
It's My Turn To Sit
Leaking Husker Tots
Moms Who Can Ball
My Mom Made Me Play
Pacman Jones All-Stars
Save Me, Tom Cruise