Ahead of the Game: Looking for sports haunts - Tucson Local Media: Import

Ahead of the Game: Looking for sports haunts

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Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2006 11:00 pm

April 5, 2006 - Sunday morning had an unpleasant surprise waiting for me from the moment I stepped out of bed.

I woke to find my TiVO and cable box acting in cahoots to deprive my television of sound. For me, there would be no women's NCAA semifinals basketball or PGA's BellSouth Classic. I couldn't even veg out with a Pistons-Suns game or the opening day of the baseball season.

Technical support said my boring afternoon of lackluster sports would have to wait another day. Their solution was to trade in my old model for a new one at a higher cost.

Livid and TV-less, I set out to create some hoops of my own at the one place I knew would not shun my sports addiction. I headed to the hidden basketball court located behind the University Medical Center's College of Pharmacy.

It's a court my hoops chums and I have named Java City after the discarded coffee shop sign in the corner that hasn't moved in more than a year.

Java City is my sports respite. A place where one can escape the rigors of the world, even if the most traumatic episode of your day is missing your favorite episodes. That's the beauty of sports. Whether it's on the basketball court, golf links, tennis court or even the batting cage, sports is often the best therapy.

So I headed out to Java City alone, because my regular hoops partner - whose TiVO worked just fine - was content to sleep away his Sunday until the Simpsons came on at 7 p.m. Java City is not very big - about 27 size-10 Reebok steps from basket to back wall - but it does feature several nooks and crannies perfect for playing h-o-r-s-e.

The circled-shape court is guarded by a 15-foot statue of Hippocrates, and when the sun sets on its red brick walls, there are fewer places in the world I'd rather be shooting lay-ups and 3-pointers. Plus, it's the perfect place to be in case you jam a finger or sprain an ankle. You can simply walk, or hobble, into the hospital.

It's the one place in Tucson where I can confront my deepest, darkest secret: I was born into the wrong body. It's painfully true. I am a 6-foot,11-inch man, trapped in a 5-foot, 7-inch frame. In other words, Shaquille O'Neal squished into Spud Webb.

So where do other people go for a reprieve in the Northwest and Foothills?

The pseudo-fighters at Boxing Inc. in Marana have told me that boxing is their own personal respite from the world. The same was said at the Pilates studio of the Red Monkey in the Foothills.

Those are both great places, but where are the Java City's of the Northwest and Foothills? Where are the hidden basketball hoops and the back-alley baseball fields?

Often times, finding a place to play or vent frustrations is difficult. As a kid you could make up a game out of anything or anywhere, such as hallway hockey. As you get older, finding those outlets becomes harder.

So where's your Java City? Shoot me an e-mail and let me know. At the very least, help me fix my television - the chain net at Java City is starting to come unlinked.

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