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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Life in Istanbul III (Basketball Edition)

I've been playing some pick-up ball lately over on the Asian side. There is a little park, right next to the water, with 5 fence-enclosed courts. The place always is full of players whenever I show up and thus quite the change from the courts close to the place I live where there barely ever is anyone playing. As people who travel and play ball at any decent level know, basketball styles vary as much as any other cultural expression. Basketball in the US is much more physical for example.

Turkey is an interesting case as there a couple of aspects to it that I have never encountered in any other place that I've played in (basically: Germany, the US, France and Austria). People here play a warm-up game before the actual one starts. The first three points don't count. The game only starts after those first three buckets. During the game the intensity is relatively high, but static. That means that it does not increase when the game nears its end (usually going to 30, with 1s and 2s). There also are virtually no celebratory gestures after the game. Winning doesn't seem to matter as much as in the US for example. Also, there are no fouls. Or barely any. I don't mean that people don't call fouls, they do. There simply are relatively few fouls. People play defense (if not crazily intense), but don't hack.

Finally, I've found it interesting that people here (comparable to Americans) play rather unorthodoxly, but well. There are quite a few people that shoot really well, even while their technique makes you cringe.

And yes, don't worry, I will continue to engage in qualitative field research as much as I can.

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