Hoopfest!  I'm not kidding you, every time I hear someone utter that beautiful word I want to drop into an aggressive defensive stance, jump into triple threat position and execute a flawless 360-dunk.  Ok, so I'd settle for a sweet lay-in.  (It's not like you can dunk either!)

I'm a huge fan of Hoopfest!  To be completely honest, it's my favorite Spokane event.  No offense Bloomsday, you hold a small "short shorts" sized place in my heart, but nothing like Hoopfest.  After all, it's tough to compete with the planet's largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament when it brings more than 200,000 players and spectators into downtown Spokane.  That's 6,400 teams, playing on 400 courts, covering more than 40 city blocks. Impressive?  I think so!

But sheer numbers and statistics are just a part of what makes Hoopfest so great.  The rest, the intangibles, are what really sets Hoopfest apart.  For this reason I've compiled the "Top 10 Reasons I Love Hoopfest" list.

In no particular order:

  1. Hoopfest Etiquette:  Going shirtless in public is socially acceptable and even vigorously encouraged. Skinny? Muscle bound? Carrying a spare tire? Sporting the chest rug?  No problem!  Go shirtless with confidence knowing that there's someone else looking worse than you.  Ladies - go shirtless at your own risk.
  2. Nike Center Court - This is where all the action at Hoopfest happens.  The best games, the sweetest dunk contests and the best prizes can be found here.  Nike Center Court is like the hot chick of Hoopfest.  Everyone's attracted to it; but only the "ballers" get to play with . . . er, I mean on it.
  3. Strange but true . . . the consolation bracket champion t-shirts are ALWAYS cooler than the regular champion t-shirts.  The one advantage of being the best loser. 
  4. The sit and lie ordinance doesn't apply.  Seriously, have you ever seen so many exhausted looking men, women and children laying in every available nook and cranny?
  5. Having a black eye, skinned up knee, bloody lip or just plain smelling bad is a badge of honor as opposed to a social abnormality.  Wear it with honor!  And those people giving you weird looks aren't disgusted . . . they're jealous!
  6. The food court.  One would think there would be a good selection of healthy eating options considering the athletic nature of Hoopfest.  But one would be wrong.  Grease is the word.
  7. Star sightings are common.  Was that John Stockton?  Did I just brush shoulders with that newscaster from KXLY?  Did I just see ____________ (insert name of your favorite Gonzaga men's basketball team member here)?  Lord have mercy!  Are those the Sea Gals (Seahawks cheerleaders for you poor uninformed individuals)?
  8. Losing twice in a row can get you to the second day, whereas losing-winning-losing can get you ousted after day one.  Important point - be strategic with your losses.
  9. You can be as serious or as fun-loving as you want.  Example:  I played a team of guys, in a competitive bracket, who were dressed in purple tights and had the basketball IQ and skill level of a toddler.
  10. YOU'RE PLAYING BASKETBALL ON THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN SPOKANE!  Sure it's not basketball in the traditional James Naismith mold.  But Hoopfest is unique.  It's an experience both players and spectators will never forget.

There you have it; the "Top 10 Reasons I Love Hoopfest."  Do you have any to add?

Oh, and if you haven't signed up yet . . . What are you thinking?!  Do it now!  The guaranteed registration deadline is Monday, May 4.