(Originally written by B.C. on September 10, 2013)
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a weekend warrior is known as ‘a person who participates in a usually physically strenuous activity only on weekends or part-time’. Doesn’t this describe many of you who, at one point, used to be involved with a sport full-time? In this case, I’ll be referring to basketball, a sport that many still play outside of the boundaries of the typical high school, college, or professional setting.
Outside of soccer (more commonly known as “football” outside of the United States), basketball is the most played sport in the world. Much of this is due to the fact that basketball, first and foremost, is a very economical sport to play. The bare minimum requirements of a recreational basketball player is a basketball, a basketball goal, and the standard workout attire. Hell, a person could even play the game by themselves, if need be! This leads us to the topic of the “weekend warrior”. We have all been exposed to that friend, family member, or co-worker who can’t wait to finish their shift at work so that they’ll be on time for their recreational league game that evening. Another prime example of a weekend warrior would be that former high school or college star who can’t seem to quell their desire to want to play the game of basketball and compete as frequently as possible. Pickup basketball provides the platform for those very same athletes to play the game they love so much.
Weekend warriors are known to play the game of basketball while disregarding any outside criticism from others toward them. More often than not, this means that a weekend warrior who’s been removed from the fast paced environment that is organized basketball will still indulge themselves into the pickup basketball scene. We have all witnessed pickup basketball everywhere. Pickup basketball is played at our local recreational centers, outside basketball courts, school and church gyms, and any other facilities that are known to house a basketball court with one or two goals. Weekend warriors live up to their names because their schedules are usually so hectic, that any free time devoted to play the game of basketball combined with their love of the sport is taken very serious, i.e., the games are usually highly competitive. The weekend warrior comes in many shapes, sizes, age groups, and other various backgrounds. However, when the gym lights are on and the round, orange ball rolls out onto the court, the weekend warrior will do whatever it takes to give their team the best chance to win the game, regardless of how comically low the stakes of the games tend to be, or that the participants in these pickup games have to return back to the real world after the last game is played for the evening and their forays into rehashing their high school varsity years have been temporarily put aside until next week.
Once again, the weekend warrior comes from many different backgrounds. One of the most common weekend warriors are the players who are fresh out of high school or college. These young men and women are typically young–under 35–and still possess an abundance of stamina and athleticism, and an ability to slash to the hoop for an uncontested layup or dunk. The second category of weekend warrior is slightly older, usually the player over 40 years of age who may or may not maintain peak physical condition, but the advantage that these players often have over their younger counterparts is their on-court savvy and overall heightened awareness. Many people in basketball circles refer to these seasoned basketball vets as having a “high basketball I.Q.” The third type of weekend warrior is a person whom I’d like to refer to as the “scrubs” in the gym. These individuals can also fall into subcategories as well. The first category being that of a player who has no basketball skill whatsoever. The second subcategory of these basketball “scrubs” are the players who may have the skills necessary to compete, but they’ll hurt their team’s chances of winning in the long run because of their overall laziness on the basketball court, and their apathetic attitude towards what goes on in the very same game that they’re competing in. Don’t waste your time with these on court slackers regardless of their skill level. The third subcategory of the basketball “scrub” is known as the troublemaker. The troublemaker is boisterous, obnoxious, and an overall pain in the ass to play with. The troublemaker does not respect foul calls of the players of the opposing teams, nor do they respect their own teammates. A great example of this would be the troublemakers in the gym who seek out confrontation. These players may or may not have game. If one does happen to play with or against these characters, do so at your own risk!
The weekend warrior is an often overlooked subculture of player in the sport of basketball. These players possess a drive and passion for the game that totally surpasses their fellow players who hung up the sneakers as soon as they were able to. The weekend warrior has no intent on giving up the game anytime soon, because they still have many basketball games to conquer, regardless of the fact that they have to be back at work again bright and early on Monday morning.