Posted on June 19 2018
On June 21st, 19nine will launch the start of their "Undefeated Summer Collection" which revolves around the summer pickup/playground scene wherever you may be from. As you could imagine we LOVE the playground game here at High Volume Shooters and wanted to share some of the places, people, and stories that we remember from coming up through possibly the last playground basketball era.
Bow and Arrow
The stories. A time honored tradition amongst friends. It usually revolves around sports and evolves as time passes. Only the great ones survive that test of time like folklore. So I was more than happy to share a few of these for an H.V.S. blog.
The only question became which one? Should I tell the story of the crackhead at Wesselman Park on Evansville’s east side that literally said nothing in between games but “Dunkin’ Donuts!!! Dip!!! Dip!!!” and then laugh hysterically. The only reason this story is funny is that this dude absolutely killed me and my friend Wes when it was time to play. Rumor had it he went to IU in the 80s but was kicked out for drugs. That theory passed the eye test…
Or should I talk about the time I kicked a ball after losing a game at Golfmoor only to watch it fly like a scud missile into the prized possession muscle car of a mid 20s monster who also happened to be sitting it? He quickly threatened to “put my little ass in the trash can.”
Wes: “Were you scared?”
Me: “No. He was going to do what he was going to do regardless of what I could have done to stop him.”
Wes: “Stop lying! You were scared shitless.”
There was also that time at Howell Park where I got beat in a 2 on 2 game when one of the dudes we were playing against wasn’t wearing any shoes and was drinking a 40 in between baskets. I was sworn to secrecy on that loss but I think enough time has passed where we can laugh at that one now. Actually, just typing that out was embarrassing as hell.
There is also the alley-oop at Howell that completely redeemed us from the barefoot ass whooping we took a couple years before. You can read more about the oop on the blog titled "The Play."
So that leaves me with the infamous “Bow and Arrow Fight” at Golfmoor. Without naming names here it goes…
Player A and Player B get into it a few consecutive times down the court due to some hard picks and hard fight throughs. It ends with Player A hitting Player B in the nuts after Player B hit him with another screen. Player B then punches Player A in the back of the head.
Obviously, the game has come to a halt and everyone is just kind of watching but ultimately tired of the back and forth and just want the game to continue.
After receiving a blow to the back of his head, Player A calmly walks to his truck and gets his hunting bow and an arrow. Calmly walks back on the court and puts the arrow in the bow and holds it up to Player B’s neck.
Player B: “Come on, Player A. What are you going to do? Are you REALLY going to shoot me with a bow and arrow?”
Player A: “I don’t give a shit, Player B. You’re bigger than me. I’m not fighting you. I’ll just shoot your ass.”
Player C (who I was guarding): “Damn, Player A. At least give him a running start.”
Situation diffused. Game on. I was maybe 15 at the time and thought I was going to witness my first murder. Per usual I was scared shitless until Player C chimed in. That was 22-23 years ago and I still remember it like yesterday.-JB
I don’t know how much state pride there is today. It seems like even within states there are micro areas that people associate with. It may be a specific area code 812 anyone or part of a state like Northern California NorCal. To me though Indiana is represented by Basketball and Indiana hoopers are second to none. I took this association with me wherever I went all over the United States and eventually the globe. When I had friends with me I would serve as the self-appointed team captain searching out a court and a game. In retrospect definitely compensating for the significant amount of splinters collected during the high school basketball season. On a streetball court, you missed five in a row, next five are going in. Whether it was spring break or mission trip we always found a court and a game that’s where I learned that in parts of Florida people actually play zone defense during pick up games. I found this personally insulting and made it my duty to represent Indiana Basketball and bust that zone.
The most memorable of these travel pick-up stories occurred near the wounded knee battlefield site in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The reservation is 3500 Square Miles and Statistically the poorest place in the whole country. They are also known for a specific type of basketball played at breakneck speeds. The colloquial is RezBall.
Our introduction to this style of ball came after my senior year of high school when a few of my basketball friends and I were on a mission trip. For most of the week, we were way out of our element that is until we managed to pull together a pickup game. The rest of our group was preparing for the cultural catnip of the powwow. We participated in the only real cultural exchange I understood on the basketball court.
Now I wish I could say I remember a play by play like Josh’s story but I don’t. I remember the speed of the game. They were able to play at this speed using a procedural memory that was difficult to adapt to. When you play a certain style of ball your whole life it can look easy to an observer but what makes basketball so incredible is the speed at which teams and players have to adapt to the subtleties of the game. Most regional play is pretty similar but the difference between the way we played in Indiana and Rezball seemed like different sports.
I think it is possible that because the game was happening so fast and was so new to me I never really got more than a sensory impression of the contests. I can recall the excitement and the lighting in the gym but not any individual standout plays (though I’m sure there were plenty). I can also recall the genuine comradery that developed. Later when I sat watching the Powwow I enjoyed it but couldn’t connect. On the court even without specific recall fo the events it was different. On the court, we were the same. I’m from Indiana I play basketball. They are Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation and they hoop.
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