The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT June 30, 2012 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT June 30, 2012

Finding the right role at Hoopfest

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Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:00 am

If I was a great athlete, instead of sitting around watching baseball, I'd be preparing for the annual Hoopfest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in downtown Spokane, which begins today.

That's not the case.

PLAYING EARLY in the morning wasn't one of my favorite things when it came to Hoopfest.

But year after year, that seemed to be the case, with an 8 or 8:30 a.m. start when I stepped onto the streets of Spokane.

Often times, the phrase "the earlier the better" didn't apply - as winning that first game didn't happen as much as it should have.

At one point, the consolation round - for those teams who go 0-2 the first day - became so familiar, I almost expected it each year.

In some rare cases, our teams found a way to win that first day, but were quickly dispatched in a loser-out game shortly thereafter.

It has been more than five years since I've played at Hoopfest and after being out of it for the last few years, the chances that I'll go back get smaller by the year.

While I enjoyed playing in the tournament, there was always something that struck me at some point during the weekend - the injury bug.

Whether an ankle, thumb or a knee, by the time I'd finished playing - if that's the best way to describe it - I always thought that might be the last year.

Playing in Hoopfest is fun while it lasts - but I also enjoy being able to walk without a limp the following day as well.

IT WASN'T until a few years ago that I could accurately describe my contribution to a team.

I'm usually the injury-prone one.

Also, my defense isn't very good.

Passing the ball to me is almost like throwing it into a black hole - because if I thought I had a shot, I was going to take it.

But the thing about Hoopfest is, you really don’t have to be a great athlete.

I’ve seen some teams that treat it like a wrestling match — and they have more success than those teams that play a legit game of basketball.

Maybe in a few years, I can find a team that needs someone to just stand still, throw up 3-pointers every once in a while, and play minimal defense.

Because I’ve realized that could be my best attribute right now, coming off the bench, playing a few minutes and disappearing back to the bench before anyone realizes I was there.

That could happen eventually — just look at how well that turned out for players like Ronny Turiaf and Juwan Howard.

Neither of those guys played too often in the playoffs this year, and thanks to their teammates — they’ll be receiving championship rings come November.

Not that I’m the missing link to a championship or anything — but I’m pretty sure that I could give the right team a few minutes here or there, if that’s what needed to happen.

Fortunately for those involved, that won’t be any time soon.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at

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