Alman’s Hoopfest Adventure


For the last several years it’s been a tradition of mine to venture to Hoopfest, the biggest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the country. I’m not a big basketball fan though I’ll occasionally watch some hoops if my friends or playing or it’s a really good game. Usually the trips to Hoopfest coincide with appearances at the local watering holes. This year’s Hoopfest featured some drinking but mostly other types of fun.

I drove to Spokane this year rather than brave the transit system. Knowing the parking would be a nightmare, I left my car at Browne’s Addition and walked to downtown. As always Hoopfest draws crowds from all over the United States. You see teams, some with clever names like “Wii Unfit” and “Sky’s Out, Thighs Out” – many groups used ballin’ this year – in their uniforms or gym wear.

Shortly after I arrived at downtown I ran into Kurto – one of my pals from The Easterner – as he was on my way to work. After we exchanged pleasantries Kurto asked,” What in the hell are you doing here?” I told him about my plans to hang out with Jaz.

“Stay hydrated my friend,” he said in the spirit of the Most Interesting Man in the World before heading to work.

I would do just that. The temperature was in the triple digits as the mixture of sweat, body spray, deodorant and the occasional pizza or barbecue filled the air.

As predicted, traffic was horrible. You could hear the horns from inside of the library.

After the library I headed over to Lucky’s Pub where they had $5 32-ounce beers on tap. Seeing the foam in my white-plastic cup reminded me of the scene from the Flinstones after Fred’s team won the bowling game and they received a giant class of what I hoped was ale.

Lucky’s was quiet with some folks coming to get beer in-between games, as well as their regulars. The TVs on the walls played baseball and an infomercial that featured former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. I scanned the walls of Lucky’s and noticed the flags, pictures and banners. The last time I was in Lucky’s was St. Patrick’s Day and the room was pretty dark. The several glasses of green beer took effect and I was only focused on the music. I did remember the giant Guinness harp and barrel of Jameson Whiskey next to it.

I glanced at the menu and saw some of the other drink specials, including $9 for Irish Trash Cans to which my liver, stomach and brain collectively said “Not a chance in Hell.” My stomach added “If you want to drink more beer, you need food.”

I met Jaz shortly after lunch. We traveled to Nike Center Court – or as I called it: The Pressure Cooker. Despite the hot temperatures and sweat pouring down our faces, we watched some impressive feats in the Slam Dunk competition – one being a guy named “Superman.” He didn’t look like Clark Kent, but he could fly.

Our next quest was to find shade – the convention center where a gal took a photo with my Lucky sunglasses. We went back to the Center Court. Jaz got some good photos of BNSF vs. Camp Hope. We left before the start of the 4 p.m. game and went back to Lucky’s.

Unlike the first trip to the pub, we sat at the bar, close to the big fan. Both Jaz and I indulged in 32-ounce Coors Lights. On the TVs there was MMA and boxing – which made me happy – and baseball – which made Jaz happy.

As the hours rolled on, Spokane’s streets got quiet. My adventure ended with a trip to Zip’s, something that her discussed after our time at the Lantern.

The day was hot and sweaty, but also a lot of fun. There are few people I would walk through Hell for and Jaz is one of them.

If you want to see some of Jaz’s photos, follow her Twitter @tealeaves.


About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.
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