Are you 'experienced'? Team sports and you.

One could argue that my background in sports isn't entirely in team sports.  I grew up playing sports that most wholesome Midwestern boys played: football, basketball, baseball, swimming and soccer.  My football career was stunted by a broken collar bone the day before tryouts my freshman year, but I still managed to play well into my senior year - much to my mom's chagrin after a mind-rattling concussion 2 years later.

My baseball career came to an end after high school as well since Columbia University's baseball stadium was 100 blocks to the north, and I wasn't sure I'd want to play catcher for the rest of my life.

But swimming stuck with me all the way through high school, college and shortly afterwards as I put forth my best effort at Olympic Trials in 2000.  I was fortunate enough to train with some of the best swimmers in the world, and was proud to say I was part of a team that sent 5 swimmers to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

But that's my point.  I was on the team, made some great friends, and had others to help me through training, but its only the individual that makes it to the Olympics.  And only then do they join ANOTHER team.  The "team" is a combination of everyone's best individual efforts, and those individual efforts usually happen in separate events or heats, not simultaneously - like football or basketball.

A former teammate of mine from the Irvine Novaquatics commented on my last post about only experiencing sports to its fullest, which is what got me thinking about this again.  Morgan made the case that some of her best stand up paddle experiences were solitary.  She might have been hanging out with her friends before or after her session, but while she was "in it", it was just her and the ocean.

There certainly is something to be said for that solitary pursuit and feeling of accomplishment in anything you do.  And I agree with Morgan on many aspects.  I mean, it's all about ME when I'm swimming because no one else is gonna move me through the water, right?  I guess it comes down to a balance - as everything does in life.

So if you need some time alone today, take it.  If you need someone to hang with or motivate you, it's easy to find it with us here.

The Community of Pickup Sports & Games

Much has happened since I spoke last with Jonny Chai of 5 Stones Fitness while he was pulling his kid around in a tire on the Marina Green in San Francisco.  But I had the chance to speak with Jonny again today to learn more about his personal training business in San Francisco, as well as what he's looking to do as he expands his business.  Jonny's an interesting guy, and is definitely focused on the importance of community in his client base - and his business as a whole.

And then I opened my personal Facebook account and got an update from one of my old Irvine Novaquatics swimming teammates, Morgan Hoesterey.  Aside from my insane jealousy for her stand-up paddleboarding lifestyle, I felt very happy and proud of her for pursuing her dreams in Hawaii - and having a damn good time with her friends while doing it.  You can learn more about her travels and adventures on their Destination 3 degrees Facebook site.  (Go girl!)

This brings me back to community, friendships and the innate human need to be around other people.  You've read about me questioning whether or not surfing, rock climbing or other "individual" sports are best alone (found here) - whether it be tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.  Now I'm posing another question: It's possible to do "individual" sports alone, but is it possible to get maximal enjoyment out of those sports while playing alone?

My previous argument that individual sports are better enjoyed with someone else could be bolstered by the fact that competition in and of itself creates a community, which in turn makes sports more enjoyable.  We're competitive creatures by nature, and a little competition is always healthy...

Are you confused yet?  If not, I'm glad we understand each other.  If so, I encourage you to get out and find a game to see what we mean by "community".

Pickup Basketball Rules

Pickup basketball can be a fun game, but there are still some rules that people should follow to avoid arguments.  After all, it's just a game, there are more advantages to keep it fun.
  1. You can only claim the court that is not currently open.
  2. Have at least 2 people to claim a half court, 8 people to claim full court.
  3. Form a team that is balanced, otherwise it destroys the fun and the losers will simply quit.
  4. Set the game points, 11 point game, 16 point game or 21 point game.  Regular shots are 1 point and shot from three point lines are 2 points in a pickup game.
  5. If it's first game, you can shoot for who get's the ball first before starting the first round.  Otherwise the winner of last round gets to be offense first.
  6. There are no referees, but violations still apply.
    • For Offense: violation includes traveling, double dribble, offense foul
    • For Defense: violation includes regular foul, intention foul
    • 5 seconds and 3 seconds violations usually isn't included in a pickup game
    • Unless it's intention violation, there are no penalty shot.  The other side simply get's the ball.
  7. After winning, the winning team can decide to play "next" challenger or retire with glory.  If there is no "next" challenger, same teams can start the game again, possibly switching players.

Hopefully this sets some group for those who are looking for Pickup Basketball Rules.  Now go post a pickup game.

Sports is in All of Us

There are many sayings in the world of sports.  One of them is, "You win some, you lose some."  Today, Egypt both won and lost.  The people of Egypt happily lost a dictator, and won (what they hope to be) a newfound freedom.

 Today we have to step back from the world of sports and recognize the historic day that the youth of Egypt have given us.  It's not every day a dictator steps down, and it's definitely a sign of the times when social media plays such an important role in such a series of events.  It's exciting, revealing, provocative and unsettling all at the same time.

 But what caught my attention on the radio this morning were comments that we haven't seen this level of excitement and celebration in the streets of Cairo since the World Cup.  Don't misinterpret; I'm not comparing a soccer game to an historical change in the country's leadership.  What I thought was remarkable was how the correspondent on the radio used soccer as a means to relate the celebration and euphoria in Egypt.

You may think this is nothing, but I see the incredible influence team sports have in everyone's life – including a country's culture.  When someone mentions a soccer game celebration, a majority of the world’s population knows exactly what that means.  Don’t take the effect of team sports on our world lightly.  It’s more powerful than we realize.

There is No Age Limit for Pickup Sports

Greetings from sunny California!

I just can't get over this weather in the Bay Area, and it's definitely had a positive impact on my mood in recent weeks.  La nina, global warming, climate change, the Al Gore Effect, or whatever, it's made exercising and playing sports outside so much more enjoyable.  My apologies to those on the East Coast.

But today I realized there's no age limit to pickup games.  I met the guys from 5 Stones Fitness (http://5stonesfitness.com/) in the Marina this afternoon as they were loading up a tire with a kettlebell, some weight, spare clothes...and a baby.  (Don't worry, the kid did it on his own accord.)  As the tire was pulled around Marina Green, it reminded me that fun comes in all shapes and sizes - and ages.  The guys from 5 Stones were having a good time and getting a good workout, and the little guy in the tire was enjoying the ride too!

It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you're having fun by staying active.  So get out and have some fun - and drag someone along with you...okay, that was bad.

Check out the quick video here:

From the Mission to Kilimanjaro: Where's Your Game?

Every once in a while I stumble across something that reminds me of just what a pickup game can do. Like the other night. On my way home from a swim in the Mission District, I stopped to watch a late game of pickup soccer. Winter is when we count our blessings in SF - while the rest of the country is blanketed by snow, we have warm days that almost make us forget the cold and foggy summers that lie ahead. The field was green (ok, so maybe it was artificial turf, but hang with me here), kids were running back and forth on the sidelines, their parents and older siblings were out passing the ball back and forth, and under the stadium lights I was struck with the thought that a whole community had come together at the end of their week in a way that they might have done in Bogota, or Mexico City, or maybe just down the road in LA. That night, I thought, pickup games helped strengthen a community.

Juneau-based mountain guide Bill Dwyer had a similar thought when climbing in Kilimanjaro, and then turned it on its head. Writing for JuneauEmpire.com, Bill describes the inspiration that drove him to use to soccer to bridge a divide between porters and clients that went deeper than language and money. Halfway up the highest mountain in Africa, Bill's started pickup games that brought him into a community, even if only for a short while. His story is here: http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/020411/out_780512023.shtml.

The next time you travel, forget the paperback and the headphones. Bring a soccer ball. We'll put you on the map with Pickup Sports. You don't need to learn the language.

High expectation's for the future of "pickup sports"

...that is, when more american's learn how important exercise is.

I am tennis/guitar player and also a college student and  am very dedicated to what I do. I've always believed if I wanted to do something, then do it right, and the only way you can get there is dedication, disipline, and the desire. Growing up I was chubby, and maybe even obese, and I thought I could just sit home watch cartoons and play video games. Untill my parents put me through different sports. I actually started off swiming, yes I was that chubby 10 year old in a speedo, but when I was put into a pool for the first time it was an amazing expierence. Which eventually led to me going back often, that led to me joining a swim team, and winning a bunch of swim meets.

When my swiming days ended I got into alot of other stuff like basketball, ice skating, football, jeet kune do, and judo. But nothing really stuck like guitar and tennis did. I still to this day have my first guitar even though I've moved on through 3 other ones, because of it memories of where i started on it.

Tennis is what really saved my physical apperance, beacause if I didnt pickup that, I might've gone back to eating chetos and playing halo for the rest of my life. But thankfully I met really good russian coaches that once played in the pro curcuit, who drilled me to death with forehands, backhands, and serves. If it wasnt for tennis then I'd probably weigh alot more than 180. Pickup sports I believe is a great tool to find people that enjoy the same actiivties that you do, if its from basketball to any other sport that floats your boat. I've also heard that evently "Pickup Sports" will soon be more musician freindly too. With all the bands out there missing a singer, drummer, bassisst, or guitarist, it would definately be awesome if musicians can connect better too.

For starters!!

So let's start by saying I'm not sure how this entire website works, but it's probably simpler than I think.

I am a New York tennis player, which is ironic because tennis is such an outdoors sport and the weather here has not exactly been all fun in the sun.  I've played high school tennis for four years after having just picked up a racquet my freshman year.  Throughout the years I got good, but not good enough.  I didn't expect to play after high school and honestly neither did anyone else.  

Well jokes on everyone because the coach from Queens College Division II offered me a place on the team!  I did not start because it was my first year and I was still considered inexperienced, but of the 10 or 11 games I was put in for our conference, I had consecutive wins singles and doubles.  Some of the competition were not hard at all, but having that record is a self boosting motivation I needed after much negativity in high school.  At first I didn't think I could juggle work, classes, and tennis in one semester.  

I admit at times I just wanted to shoot myself because it was just so much.  There were some downsides like getting a C- in Geology, but I still believe it was the professor that was hardcore on us! I'm still not sure how I got through the fall semester, but I have a feeling it was my team that helped me a lot.  Our team was very close that I stayed over the dorms many days to hang out and go to class the next day.  We all went out with each other and all of them were older than me so just getting adjusted to college life was a piece of cake with them around.  They are all so nice, but then again none of them are from NY.

Feb07

Is Surfing a Pickup Sport?

If you're lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, you've been lucky enough to appreciate some of the unseasonably gorgeous weather we've been having recently.  Those of us inclined to brave the cold water in search of a nice ride found last weekend particularly special.  The waves were decent, the sun was strong and it was a great time out surfing.

 

But it got my surf buddy and I talking about the camaraderie and fellowship of surfers along the coast.  For the most part, surfers are pretty chill and accepting of beginners and visitors - because we've all been there.  But why can't surfing be a pickup sport?

It's more fun when you're with a few buddies or betties, and as many Ocean Beach surfers can attest, it's not always safe to be out by yourself.  So we figured surfing is another great sport that we can tell people about on Pickup Sports.  Just like other games on the Pickup Sports app, it passes the following criteria:

1) You can partake alone (but it's more fun with at least one other person)

2) Location is very important (since good surf breaks are found in many places)

3) If you're new to the area or sport, some local input is invaluable!

Let us know what you think, and if you're out to hang ten or thrash the lip, don't go it alone!

Pickup Sports Android Market look and feel

So today Google released honeycomb and had a developer conference, the long waited web portal for the Android Market has finally arrived.  The picture below shows what it looks like, we are very impressed and would love to work on improving the application, new update on android coming soon!!

You can now go to the market and check out the app at http://market.android.com/details?id=com.pickupsports