My first encounter with Hoopfest, the world's biggest 3on3 basketball competition in the world (yeah, the WORLD) was when I was in college. I went to Gonzaga where basketball is king so it wasn't surprising that a couple friends of mine would decide to play in Hoopfest. They played relatively early in the morning, around 11 and my foolish Seattle raised self decided that I should be ok without sunscreen that early in the day. I hadn't yet acclimated to Spokane's searing hot summers and the way they began before the 4th of July (many rainy fireworks shows in my childhood) and tragically underestimate the temperature and the way that all the hard surfaces of downtown-the courts, the bricks, and the tens of thousands of people would all conspire to make a mid morning adventure unbelievably hot. By the end of the game I was turning a shade more commonly seen on cooked crustaceans, but I still had a great time. The energy of the event, the hordes of onlookers, the intent faces of the basketball players-all ages from what seemed like toddlers to men for whom this was clearly their mid life crisis red convertible substitute. Players were dressed in crazy outfits such as overalls, clown wigs, weird makeup and shirts bedecked with bizarre team names (some from this year courtesy of the Inlander-Avocado Toast, Nothing but Netflix, and Bitter Aged Hops). I don't love basketball enough to assemble a team, sign up for Hoopfest (note that I skipped practice as a step here, because for a lot of people not training before the event is clearly traditional.)and battle it out in the summer heat on the blacktop, but clearly there are thousands of people who do. And I'm glad. It is fabulous local tradition that does great things for our community-the organizers of Hoopfest are the ambassadors of basketball fever, but also a force for good in our community, donating money to many charities and helping to build or refinish basketball courts all over Spokane.
That heat partially addled my brain so I forgot to take photos while I was down on the courts. All my attention was focused on capturing the bounding basketball players and finding shady places to sketch! If you'd like to see more photos from the even check out this slideshow compiled by the fabulous photographers of the Spokesman Review.
I'm already strategizing how to get even more sketching done at Hoopfest next year! Start out early, break in the middle, and possibly find some buildings with a bird's eye view of the streets are all on the docket! See you there next year!