Whether you’re a spectator or a competitor, sporting events are back this year. For many, the cancellation of sports last March was the first “holy crap” moment that convinced them the pandemic was here. Games were canceled not only in major national leagues but at your local gym. The good news? Sports are back. You can go out and play a game with some friends, or run a marathon, or play Hoopfest, then come back and turn on the game with a nice cold beer.
Go to an Indians Game
The Spokane Indians have leveled up since the pandemic. They’re now a “high-A” affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, which basically means more high-quality baseball in Spokane. In fact, they’re about to play twice as many games at Avista Stadium as they usually do. After a year of isolation, a casual night out at the baseball park might be exactly what you need to ease yourself into being around crowds again. The season started May 4 and will continue through early September. Check out spokaneindians.com for tickets and more information.
Go to a Shock Game
Baseball not your thing? Then maybe football is. The Spokane Shock are back playing football for the Indoor Football League, and in June they plan to welcome back fans once again. It’s a great time for those hot summer days when you want to have fun, but maybe you want to stay indoors with some air conditioning. Tickets must be purchased online at www.thespokaneshock.com or call (509) 934-2255.
Go Play Some Basketball
They say basketball is a non-contact sport, but we all know that’s a lie. And maybe sweating and breathing around a bunch of other people wasn’t enticing with an airborne virus raging across the country. But now? Outside? With people vaccinated? Basketball is back.
Hoopfest — everyone’s favorite 3-on-3 tournament — won’t be until Sept. 11-12 this year, but hoopers can get their fix in with an outdoor Hooptown USA league, presented by Spokane Hoopfest Association and Riverfront Park this summer. This summer league is a 5-on-5 game on weeknights so, no, you won’t miss any lake weekends.
Games will be played at a beautiful new court on the North Bank of the park starting in early July, once a week. That means after the games, maybe you can go on a nice walk around the park. The deadline to register is Sunday, June 20. Visit hooptownusa.com for more details.
Go Pick A Place For Pickleball
Even before the pandemic, pickleball was taking off as a sport. Tyson McGuffin, a local who was the 2017 and 2018 Men’s Singles national champion in pickleball, called it the “fastest-growing sport in America” in an interview with the Inlander in 2018.
There’s a good reason: It’s easy for anyone to play casually, but just as easy to make it competitive. All you need is a couple paddles, a ball and a partner, and you have a game. Plus, it’s fun to see the look of bemusement on someone’s face when you tell them you are a regular pickleball player. At least it’s a conversation starter.
The pandemic seemingly helped the sport take off even more. Like tennis, it’s a good way to stay active while staying socially distanced, and it’s a great outdoor activity. There’s also a ton of places to play around the Inland Northwest — Cherry Hill Park in Coeur d’Alene, Comstock Park in Spokane, Hill’s Resort on Priest Lake are just a few of the many parks with a pickleball court. Give it a try!