A few years ago (can't remember exactly when), I was talking to an old college friend of mine. She knew I liked basketball and mentioned that her current boyfriend (now husband) frequently played basketball with his friends on Saturdays. At the time I talked to my friend, the only basketball I played was through my various leagues. I did not play a lot of pickup basketball.
In fact, most of my time Saturdays at the time (especially during the winter / spring months) was spent officiating basketball. But during the summer and fall, I did not officiate as frequently. I got some info from my friend / her boyfriend and I began to join in with the group on Saturday to play basketball.
Initially, my appearances were sporadic. At the time, playing on Saturdays weren't a high priority. Officiating basketball was something I wanted to do. If I had to choose between officiating and playing, I went with officiating. Also, since I didn't know the people that well, I didn't always show up even when I was free.
As time went on, things began to change. I realized that my officiating on Saturday had become a bit of a routine. Officiating is a nice way to exercise and earn some money. But it is still WORK. The other part was that I was realizing that I enjoyed PLAYING basketball more than officiating.
I decided to try and balance BOTH officiating and basketball. I would only work games at a certain time so I could make time to play with the Saturday group. I went through this for several years. But it was getting hard on my legs. I'd officiate several AM games and then try to play basketball for several more hours after that.
In recent years, my priorities have shifted away from officiating and toward just playing basketball on Saturday. I've gotten to know quite a few of the guys I play with on Saturday and enjoy hanging out with them every week. Whenever possible, I make time to play with the Saturday group. I don't officiate on Saturdays as much as I did before. But sometimes I do work some games to change up the routine and also to help out in emergencies.
I also have to give props to all the guys that I play with on Saturday. A good number of the guys went to high school together and have been playing together for years. Throw me and some other guys and we have a rotating core of 12 to 14 guys that play on Saturdays. We usually have somewhere between 6 to 8 guys each week with some days getting a lot more. The good thing is all of us are around the same age and around the same skill level. Always great to get in some competitive games and get some exercise.
Lastly, I'd note that this group of guys are very dedicated. Out of the 52 Saturdays in a year, I'd estimate that the group gets together to play 80% to 85% of the time. I appreciate the time I get to play with these guys. It's definitely something I look forward to every weekend and I think its the same for some of the other guys as well.