a basketball lovers paradise
This time of year it’s not uncommon for the Atlantic ocean to look as serene as a lake. It’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch the sun set against a shimmering horizontal mirror. Water sports such as surfing and body-boarding are pretty much out of the question in the dog days of summer. However, in their place come ample opportunities for paddle-boarding, kayaking and snorkeling. There is always some fun way to stay active when living near the ocean!
Nevertheless, one of my personal favorite types of active play doesn’t involve the ocean at all.
Basketball in Puerto Rico
Much to my initial surprise, basketball (and baseball) seem to be more popular here than fútbol (soccer). Many here keep up with the NBA and followed my former home team San Antonio Spurs closer than I did. Further, I was surprised to learn that there is even a professional basketball league here in Puerto Rico called the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) where it turns out that Phil Jackson and his hall of fame mentor, Tex Winter, got their starts. In fact, it seems I moved from one basketball town to another; Aguada has it’s own team in the BSN; the Santeros de Aguada.
More relevant to me than watching professionals compete, is that pretty much anywhere you go on the island, you will most likely find a covered outdoor basketball court nearby where amateurs like me can work on their shot. Even sleepy towns in the mountains have these courts. Within a short bike ride of our condo there are at least THREE of these covered courts. I don’t know if the construction of these courts in particular were funded by the U.S. government, but there is no question that basketball is one of America’s most successful exports. (an interesting side note is that the Philippines, which was also a U.S. territory at the turn of the 20th century, is the only place in southeast Asia where basketball has really caught on, no doubt also due to influence from Uncle Sam).
In addition, there are municipal multi-use coliseums in just about every town featuring indoor basketball courts with wood flooring that can be used for free. I can bike to the one in Aguada and the one in Rincón is just a short drive away.
Puerto Rico is truly a one-of-a-kind place, where American innovation and influence meet Latin culture and tropical Caribbean beauty. Where else in the world can I bike to a covered basketball court to shoot some hoops, pick up some delicious comida criolla at a food truck on the way home, and then finish the day off with a walk on the beach with my wife to take in another spectacular sunset? 🙂
(BTW, if you in the area and want to shoot some hoops, post a message to the group on Facebook to see if anyone else is playing!)