Three pairs of black 94-foot lines run parallel at the site of Newark’s most competitive pick-up amateur ball. Here, we see a cast of characters varying from the too tall to the “my roommates are playing so let me try basketball for the first time since age 11.” If you frequent the Little Bob courts, you may be familiar with everyone in between.
The guys on the sidecourt seem surprised that you attempt to call next, and you almost wish they deny you when you see they’re playing with the 6’8’’ varsity D-end; you’re just quietly thrilled to see he isn’t running or playing defense. He tells you he hasn’t sniffed the field this season while your Delawarean friend swore he heard he’s walking on to the Jets.
Then there’s both the Greek students and the international students. John Q. Fratstar rolls deep to reclaim his court, knowing everyone will remember when they won three times in a row last semester and forget the “couple” other times. Whether it’s a close loss or 12-point blowout, they assure you that they got merked. Every single Chinese student is well-schooled with the fundamentals and have remarkable court awareness for each other, reflected by their devastating assist-to-turnover ratio and nifty decision-making.
You may be playing with that kid that was in one of your classes, and you might want to say hi, but then you remember he left you completely alone to work on your group project, so screw that guy. He still has no idea why you’re mad at him. There’s also an old man who sticks out like a raisin among grapes, accompanied by his 13 year-old, already-6’1” son. You root for the adolescent underdog until you get stuck guarding him.
The court harmoniously brings men (and the tall blonde girl who is only alright, but still way better than you) together for pure competition and introduces would-be strangers, giving one of them the opportunity to get a free drink from another at Tim’s that Friday. Whoever seems more hyped that their fake ID worked will undoubtedly volunteer to buy a round. The less excited baller has clearly been there before and is more conscious of his bank statement and the girl in his COMM212 class to whom he hasn’t said hello yet. He’ll spend twenty seconds trying to remember who this guy talking about basketball is.
The basket after point-game ends the run unless co-ed intramural volleyball claims the court and everyone tries to salvage the day by going to the Busch league two-court room. This also may be interrupted by all-girl cheerleading.
The one in the neon green “ball is life” Nike shirt doesn’t care if you play to 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, or 21; he’s just out there knowing winners never quit or call foul.