I've just moved to Denver from the Bay Area. In a lot of ways, the move is great: great new job, great new apartment, great new city. What's not great is that I have to find new places to play basketball. I've moved a lot in my life, and each time, I've had to find good pickup games in unfamiliar places. It's always tough, and even tougher now that I'm old and crabby. As a younger guy, I'd play in any game I could find, but now I'm much more picky about quality of play, and more importantly, level of sportsmanship. Plus, I have to reestablish myself in new socio-hoops environments, which can be stressful.
I've been in Denver about two weeks now and I still haven't found a decent game. One reason for this is that it's incredibly hot—like record-breakingly hot—so no one is playing outdoors.
Yesterday I went to a rec center near my apartment and found a few guys shooting around. We all shot for a while and then made an awkward transition to two-on-two. The game was pretty good. My teammate, incredibly, had played basketball for my alma mater. He was a terrific player with a deadeye jumper and seriously polished moves around the rim. Our opponents were also quality players. One was a high-school kid who claimed that he almost broke the state record for three-pointers. I'm not sure I believe that, but he was indeed a very good shooter.
We won a couple of games—mostly because my teammate was unstoppable. I played pretty well, repeatedly posting the high school kid up and tossing in various old man shots (he hated it and was despondent about being "shitted on"), but after two games I was done. The altitude just destroyed me! Each game was to fifteen, and by eight I was begging for the end. By fifteen I was clutching my shorts, gasping and unable to speak. I should have expected this, as I've routinely been running out of breath while performing strenuous tasks like climbing stairs, walking to the store, and petting my cat.
So now I'm facing a sorta-Catch-22. I want to find some full court games to play in, but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up because of my sea-level conditioning. However, the only way I'll get into mile-high shape is to play in said full court games. And the whole dilemma is irrelevant if I can't find any games to actually play in.
I'll keep you posted on the Denver Old Man Pickup Hoops Scene, and if anybody out there knows of good runs in the 303/720, please let me know.