Fancy a Game?

I heard an audio recording recently of a Thailand National League championship basketball game. I understood it, of course, since I am Thai as witnessed by my name – Pluethipol. I stored it in my computer for posterity. Once in a while I listen again and all of a sudden, I am a fan of this country’s American-borrowed sport.

If you came to my house you would see an in-ground basketball hoop in the driveway attached to the house. I selected a Spalding model after reading this web page: Every kid in the neighborhood has one, although some go unattended for various periods of time. It is part of growing up a boy whether you live in the city or the suburbs. If the playground isn’t close, dad installed it no doubt when you were six. I do play it believe it or not at my age. I call friends, email, or text “fancy a game?” They laugh and come over. Before starting, I often give a lecture on the joys of Thailand basketball. I can spout off the names of most players. I talk about the rules and variations in technique and plays although they try to keep the basic game intact. It wouldn’t be basketball. It would be another sport the way rugby relates to football or softball relates to baseball.

My hoop gets lots of use as done my rec room, also known in some circles as a man cave. After a rousing game, to calm our overzealous competitive spirit, we have drinks and snacks and talk about the next date. I am always the host although I know many of my friends have hoops.

To keep you up to date, the Thailand National League is a men’s basketball league that consists of eleven teams. Not to be sexist, I want to mention that there is a women’s league of six teams. We must be fair to the opposite (not weaker) sex. The organization goes back to only 2012 created by the Basketball Sport Association of Thailand. The fact that the country has such a group attests to the games popularity and importance in the sports lineup. Interestingly enough, foreigners are absolutely allowed to play. It is not that we have enough local people but that there are so many ex pats around, many of whom play great ball. I just found out that only one foreigner can now play; the rules have changed. I wonder if it will affect the results.

Just like any team in the world there are specific basketball seasons and playoffs (consisting of the top four teams). Competition can get heated whenever you get committed players in the mix. Eventually there is an All-Star team and an All-Star game. If you think Brazilians, Italians, and Argentinians go nuts about soccer, they haven’t seen this game in Thailand. So, you can follow the sport and get scores and stats on line. You can get all the info on the top players. You could become a fanatic like me.