Glenwood Springs players reunite for 3-on-3 basketball tourney
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Chris Hoffmeister started playing basketball as a young kid watching Michael Jordan.
After playing for the Glenwood Springs High School Demons, he still hits the asphalt court at Sayre Park as an adult about three times a week, and his team, the Fightin’ Whities, was making a run Saturday at the Hoop D’Ville 3-on-3 basketball tournament crown.
The team was one of the favorites but fell to defending champions the Hyenas in the title game.
Hoffmeister, of Glenwood Springs, has played in the competition since it began eight years ago and anticipates it year-round.
“I look forward to it all year,” he said courtside at Sayre Park. “Just to get out here with all the old-schoolers. It’s fun because it’s the best basketball of the year ” a full day of it.”
There’s no multi-million dollar salaries, television cameras or finely sanded and polished wooden courts. Just the hot sun, black asphalt and the love of the game.
And competition. Competition matters.
“People are here to win,” Hoffmeister said. “Everyone wants to get the bragging rights for the next year. … Since everyone mostly knows each other it’s just good rubbing it in once in a while.”
Most of the players are part of the local street or pickup basketball scene that Grand Avenue drivers can see crashing the boards at Sayre Park each night. Many played together in high school or even college.
“A lot of guys play pick up together. A lot of them played in high school together,” said Will Jones.
Jones is a friend of the events’ founder, Mike Picore. The event has grown from eight teams since it began in 2000 to 15 teams this year.
Some outsiders have heard about the tournament and come in from out of town. Hoffmeister said Scottie Vines, who was a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, came from Grand Junction to play at the tournament again this year.
It was a day of swishes and bricks and nonstop action. Something was pretty much always going on, sometimes several games at once on the court’s six hoops. Players showed off their skills at the mid-day slam dunk contest after pizza. One might wonder how many kids from Glenwood can dunk.
“Some of them can,” said Charlotte Cunningham, who came to watch her son, Dorian McClelland.
“Not many,” joked another spectator who didn’t offer his name.
Cunningham, of Glenwood Springs, said her son’s team, the Hyenas, won the tournament last year, plus the competition’s 4-on-4 sister event. Three of the team’s members played for the GSHS Demons and graduated in 1992.
“When they get back together it’s sort of a big deal,” she said. “This tournament is a reunion for them all.”
She’s also noticed the highly competitive spirit on the court, which she said has left players with scrapes, jammed fingers or a broken wrist.
Before the mid-day break, one player drove in for a layup then called in a sub before saying, “I can’t breathe,” and lying on the grass. He got up and shared in the high-fives a few minutes later when the game was over.
These days professional basketball just isn’t quite the same, Hoffmeister said.
“I can’t really take it anymore,” he said. “I can’t even watch Kobe (Bryant).”
But none of that mattered Saturday, when players’ minds were set on sinking the
three, taking it to the hole and winning the tournament crown.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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