Thanks to my 9-year-old daughter, I have finally tasted the full flavor of Hoopfest.
For the better part of two days last weekend, Linse played and continued playing on Seafirst Court in front of the STA Plaza on Wall Street.
It gave me time to savor the best and worst of the pageantry.
There were those whiney players who found a free throw in every possession and stole their wins.
And there were over-indulgent parents so caught up in the efforts of their children that they spilled over onto neighboring courts or stood in front of already seated spectators without so much as a thought.
Those were momentary distractions. Wherever I strolled among the myriad courts there were acquaintances to greet.
There was a wealth of entertaining games between teams of every imaginable kind of talent and of every age.
There’s also something to be said for a stroll through the food booths in Riverfront Park.
Linse was on a team that included Emily Kuipers and Tiffany Feist, daughters of West Valley basketball coaches Mark Kuipers and Joe Feist, and Jerrae Wacenske.
Its greatest asset was its height but the team somehow managed to blow a four-basket lead and lose 17-15 in its 8 a.m. Saturday opener.
Everyone was resigned to the inevitable except the players who proceeded to win five successive games. Saturday 8 a.m. became Saturday 7 p.m., which led to Sunday 8:30 a.m. which didn’t end until Sunday 2 p.m.
The girls finished fourth out of 17 teams. Their only two losses came to the first- and second-place teams.
Dynamite of Harrington, which won eight straight games after a similar tournament-opening setback, beat the Southside Slammers twice after they had won five straight to make the finals.
Teary-eyed players and proud parents headed home for the swimming pool mindful of their accomplishment.
And they felt a renewed appreciation for Spokane’s ability to create a sense of community by successfully pulling off this participatory coup.