Football is over. Get over it! There is still Terps basketball (men & womens), Capitols hockey and Wizards (supposed professional) basketball. All fine alternatives if you do not mind shelling out $100/ticket, $30 for parking, $50 bucks for food and drink, sitting far from the action, in a cramped seat, next to people that are texting on their phone or conversing about nothing significant to the event. Well gang, in my book, bag that! I highly recommend getting yourselves to a gem of a sporting event called minor league basketball – Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League - style.
Located in between Baltimore and DC, in Severn, MD – Anne Arundel County, is the home court for the Bay Area Shuckers. The league is young and it’s the first year for the Shuckers – get there now while it’s fresh and kicking. If you want an evening out to experience the “Family Friendliest Pro Sport in Town” and to watch high energy action basketball, click on the link www.BayAreaShuckers.com, for more details. Brace yourselves it’s $10/ticket - adult, parking is free and you don’t have to hit the wall safe for a hot dog. An inexpensive night out, time with family and friends, in an inviting environment, while watching a sporting event. Yeah, it’s nice.
I went Saturday night. I was lucky enough to be invited by a co-worker friend of mine who is directly associated with the team, as Director of Player Personnel/Scoreboard keeper. I was blown away. It was one of those, “are you kiddin’ me?”, pleasantly surprised deals, that have me checking the date for the next home game. Grant it, it was one heckuva game, Shuckers won 149 – 148. Yes that’s right people 297 points. You may say sarcastically and people have, “nice defensive game.” All I have to say is ON THE CONTRARY. These young guys can play. There is defense. Enough defense that, it is no place for one faint of heart or drive. The refs “let them play”, especially bringing the ball up. There is no such thing as a “hand check”, “reaching in”, or “body checking”. It is survival of the most talented. It is survival of the fittest.
Sure there is “run and gun”. Sure there is “one less pass than there should be”. So what? These guys can run, they can pass, shoot, block and rebound all at a high rate of speed. The young lads are quick. Much quicker than I had anticipated. If you could bring your seat belt in from the car, I would advise it. Nah, because guess what? You get to become “part of the event”. You get to jump, high-five, cheer, yell, respectfully heckle, all in fun. It’s all part of the beauty of this evening out. It is a minor league baseball game environment – indoors - during the winter.
The game score - end of regulation – Shuckers 135 (soon to be - if not already crosstown rivals) - Beltway Bombers 135. They play 12 minute quarters, refs are questionable (which adds to the experience) and the teams I saw, go 8-9 deep with very little drop in talent. That is where your high scoring comes from. Talented ball players with fresh legs and decent substitution. And yes there are some stars that shine. The Shuckers made some mid-season acquisitions in #1 – Adrian Bowie (former Terp) and #23 Earl Jackson (inside guy) – tough. The Bombers weren’t slacking either, with this guy #22 ” Baby Shaq” and a #45 – forward, who clearly had above average skills. Fast breaks, 3-pointers, picks, alley-oops, corner fade aways, tenacious defense, no-doubt-about-it fouls. It was all there and it was non-stop. By the end of the game, I was drained and the ball had not touched my hands.
The evening festivities – Bald is Beautiful Cancer Awareness Night, basketball musical chairs while making baskets, kids 5 and under drawn from the stands prior to game time to give high (or low) fives to the players during introductions, t-shirts being vaulted into the crowd, cheerleaders/dance team during time outs, dinner gift certificates from local sponsors and restaraunts, etc. Yes, it was all there. No alcohol, language was curtailed, general admission seating, fan knowledge of the game, respect for the people sitting around you, heck it was mostly family and friends of the players. Total crowd of say 150-200. Fan participation with fan appreciation! Beat that.
Decent ball, high entertainment value, competitive sporting event = Bay Area Shuckers. You want a breathe of fresh air (well, maybe not after the 3rd quarter), get down to the Kilby Athletic Center on the campus of Annapolis Area Christian School, for a 7:00pm tip-off. The venue is an upscale high school gym and you are only 10 -40 feet away from the action. Check out the schedule, if the winter doldrums have hit and you need a little ”Let’s Get it Started” – (Black Eyed Peas), take some time out on a Saturday evening and treat yourself. You’ll thank me later.