One of the perks of being a foreigner in China is that I get invited to all kinds of events. Just to name a few over the past five years: concerts, Chairman Mao's Red Songs ballet, English corners, speaking contest judge, flag bearer for sports day.
This week, basketball.
It's not the first time I've been on a team offered a challenge on the basketball court. Usually it's the university hot-shots who come over and ask for a match, and then a rematch, and another until we finally lose a game due to pure exhaustion. This time was different. A group of Chinese men (think working class professionals or recent retirees) witnessed our foreigner pickup game and offered to meet us in the park on Sunday afternoon.
Sweet, Rucker Park here we come. All that was missing were chain nets. Jerseys? Check. Them, not us. We were just a rag-tag bunch of foreigners wearing the only grey shirts we owned. Referees? Check. Scoreboard? Check. Spectators? You bet. Everyone stopped to check out the game. It was quite the pickup game.