Hoopfest headquarters was full of heroic stories of court monitors surviving hot weather, hot players, hotter parents and no relief over the course of the two-day 3-on-3 basketball tournament in downtown Spokane.
But it’s unlikely many of the monitors on the 214 courts for the sixth-annual event could make the same claim as Jerri Friski.
Not only did the 23-year-old home loan processor from the Spokane Valley call every game on Special Olympics court No. 175, but she never even took a bathroom break. That’s about 40 games of intense sixth-graders and, no doubt, even-tempered parents.
“I didn’t drink enough,” she admitted.
Friski volunteered after a friend had encouraged her because Friski likes kids.
Whatever problems she faced had mostly to do with parents.
“Parents need to understand the game is for kids and mostly fun,” she said, tired but still chipper Sunday afternoon. “They’ll see me next year. I’m going to go up a bracket with the kids - they asked me.”
After several dozen court monitors skipped out on their responsibilities Saturday, things went a lot more smoothly Sunday.
“Most people got relief today. They didn’t yesterday,” monitor equipment chairman Brian McClain said. “We called all the relief people (72) and probably 90 percent showed up to take a court.”
Hoopfest officials still are seething because some volunteer monitors picked up their packets, clothing and shoes, then failed to show up Saturday.
“We’re going to call everyone who didn’t show up and see if we can get the stuff back,” McClain said. “We talked about not giving the shoes out until Sunday night, but that’s not official.”
McClain visited more than half the monitors Saturday to say thanks, and officials did the same Sunday when the monitors returned the flip-chart scoreboards and basketballs.
Center court winners
How well can four insurance salesmen play basketball?
Well enough to win the Hoopfest over-6-feet division.
State Farm Insurance, runners-up a year ago, came back with a vengeance and defeated Europa Pizzaria 20-15.
The leaping insurance agents were Jon Bergmeier, Dave Christy, Brian Kaspar and Aaron Smith.
Winners of the under-6-feet men’s division, Heat in the Street, were Bob, Pat and Mike Sobotta and Josh Leighton.
Champs of the women’s open division, 1-800-TNTGRIZ, were Jennifer and Lisa Tinkle, Marti Leibenguth and Jean McNulty. They defeated the PMS Queens.
Winning the wheelchair division were the St. Luke’s Rehab team of Gene Garrison, Frank Traver, Lew Tomlinson and Tim Hogan.
Peace through pick and roll?
Reconciliation Rwanda, an effort undertaken by former Spokane resident Brad Rothrock, netted more than 1,200 basketballs to be sent to that African country.
Rothrock, who’s in Rwanda, helped convince Hoopfest officials to let friends in Spokane raise $5 donations to send basketballs to that country.
For $5, one ball would be sent to Rwanda, where Rothrock believes the game can provide a form of cultural peacemaking between warring ethnic groups.
Give him the ball
Among the winners Sunday was Whitworth College President William Robinson, competing in the 35-andolder, under-6-feet division.
His team was called All the President’s Men and included three other Whitworth faculty members, all of whom knew that Robinson should see the ball often.
He used it pretty well, too, ending one close game with a driving jumper, probably fouling his opponent with a push-off, but still getting the call.
After the game, he considered the idea of forming a university presidents’ team for Hoopfest, including players such as Eastern Washington University’s Mark Drummond and the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Terry Brown.
“Except then, (WSU President) Sam Smith would want the ball all the time,” Robinson said, grinning.
Hot days, cold rims
Did it seem every team out there was making only 30 percent of its shots?
Hoopfest players and officials tended to agree that most teams this year were not exactly shooting the lights out.
“I think it was the way the streets dip and curve. The rims are not really the same height, depending on where you shoot from,” said one player from Seattle.
K.W. Knorr, coordinator of court monitors, suggested weather might have been the biggest factor.
“Whatever it was, it meant a lot of games never got to 20 (points) in the 30-minute time limit,” he added.