Monday, August 2, 2010

Hoops on the Equator

Basketball in Costa Rica is making a big push to become the nation's number two sport. Soccer still reigns as number one. We have eight teams in our Costa Rican first division basketball league. We have good players, some from the US, who can drive and dunk, like Rohel Wilson. The three point shooting is improving too. They play in sports complexes that accommdate one to two thousand people, ready to make noise and cheer their city's team on. People really seem to love it, and I find going to the games a fun time. The arena I go to is nearly full for a good game.

This league is semi-pro. Some of the players do not get paid. Yet, I judge them to play at the level of a Division II college team. Right now the league’s biggest problem is the lack of parity. The four top teams dominate and there are a lot of blowouts. They are working on that problem. Also funding is a problem for many teams. The team from the city of Barva is last year's champ, and they are 16-1 this year. They are well funded because of their popularity, but businesses are not as generous with struggling teams. If Costa Rican basketball can overcome these problems, we should be in for some good family entertainment for years tsso come.

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