Friday, February 18, 2011

Game Time!

In about 12 hours, a rag tag basketball team I put together will tip off in a Chinese New Year basketball tournament being held in South San Francisco.  The team comprises with 4 guys I played with in some leagues recently, 2 friends, and 3 other newcomers I have never met.

I have no idea how my team will do and the quality of the competition we will face.  It will not be easy though as we will play twice tomorrow (9 AM & 11:30 AM) and at least one game (hopefully more) on Sunday.

This particular tournament has existed for some 50 years.  From reading something online, this tournament could be the 50th Anniversary though the coordinators have not acknowledged it. The tournament started play at the Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco's Chinatown and was played there up until last year.  Due to a remodel of the Center, the tournament has been moved to a high school in South San Francisco for this year.

Being a Chinatown kid and hanging around Chinese Recreation Center a lot, I had watched various teams play the tournament over the years.  Yet, I never actually played in the tournament.  I wasn't a huge basketball player in my youth though I always enjoyed watching it.   To me, this particular tournament represented a higher level of competition among Asian/Chinese players than I could ever be at.   Interestingly, I actually have officiated the tournament in recent years though will not be doing so this year as I am playing.

Many friends wondered why I decided to form the team and play in the tournament, especially since I am 36 years old and my knees have been aching lately.  Some thought it was because I am a basketball nut.  In a way, you could that is true.  However, I could have easily chosen NOT to form a team as I normally play basketball on Saturdays anyway. 

I decided to form a team because I felt this was one of my last few opportunities to play in the tournament.  Because of the move to another facility, there was enough space to host two tournaments.  There is the Upper Division for the more competitive teams.  Then the coordinators formed a Lower Division for the other teams who wanted to play but couldn't compete with the better teams. 

Seeing that there was a Lower Division compelled me to form the team and make perhaps my first (and probably last) appearance in a tournament that I have watched since I was a kid.   Playing this year is less about winning than about being part of a tradition that has existed for many years.  

Win or lose, I am going to enjoy this weekend with my teammates.  Wish us luck!  

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