The pair of outdoor basketball courts at Carver Park get a lot of traffic during the evening hours. Young men playing pickup games arc the ball toward the unforgiving, double-layered rims, while other small shooting games go on around them. It’s a lot of laughs and a bit of competition as strangers become friends in the midst of a little roundball action.
“We’re usually here a few times a week and we’ve met quite a few people here,” said Morgan Edwards of Kingsport, who gathers with three other friends to play halfcourt pickup games for about three hours. “There’s been more and more people showing up.”
The men, each in their mid-20s, use half of the court and play to 11 points so they can get in as many games as possible. They call their own fouls, too, which sometimes leads to disagreements.
“Friends get a little upset with other friends, but they all get over it eventually,” said Josh Bogal of Johnson City.
They’ve been playing outdoors for the last couple of months, taking advantage of the warm weather. The same can be said for Tasha Cavin and fellow friends and coworkers from the McDonalds on West Market Street, who shoot hoops for exercise and extra energy. They take part in a lot of 3-on-3 pickup competitions, plus games of “21.” Ashley Fuqua is the most competitive of the group, which she says stems from her days of playing high school basketball.
Once the sun sets, a lot of people play under the lights. In addition to games beneath the stars, many of those who use the facility are thankful for a free place to play.
“This is nice,” said Greg Osborne from Elizabethton. “You have to pay money to go to indoor gyms.”
Until the weather gets too chilly, the Carver Park courts will continue to be a central location for pickup players and friends to break a sweat during the evening hours.