The Lively Culture of Open Gym Basketball

Andrew KleiberYou’re probably saying to yourself, “What? There is such a thing as a culture of open gym basketball?”

While many people might not think about it, a lot of students go shoot hoops almost every day. Stout actually makes it really easy to keep up your hobby.

The Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) is open almost all day, except for 2:00-6:45 p.m. on the weekdays for athletics. However, any time before and after that is fair game. The employees like to keep one court open as much as possible so people can play at their own leisure and without organizing a game.

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But the MPR isn’t the only place to ball. There are two more courts that people like to play at. The West Gym, which is located by the weight room, and the Johnson Fieldhouse are two other great places to play.

Personally, I love having all of these free courts available because I like to go and have fun with my friends, socialize, and play the game that I love. Judging by how lively the gyms always are, a lot of students feel the same way. That in itself is the reason why I think there’s a culture to playing basketball.

I asked Mike Bond and Jenny VanderHeiden, employees with the University Recreation Office, a few questions about open gym basketball.

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On average, how many people do you think come in and play each day?

Mike: We leave at least one court open and you get your typical five on five game. Then there’s five or six people on the baseline watching so anywhere between fifteen or sixteen people. In total, though, during one night there’s probably close to three dozen people.

Do you see a lot of familiar faces each day?

Jenny: Yeah it’s basically the same teams and same friend groups coming in at the same times.

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Do you feel like there is a culture to open gym basketball?

Mike: I think it is a culture. Like in New York with street ball and what not. It goes beyond just the MPR.

Jenny: A lot of people come in during intramural hours and are bummed when we don’t have an open court. And even when the courts already have ten to twelve people on them, people still go and watch. Everyone’s really supportive of each other, even if they don’t know each other.”

See you on the court, Stout.

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