Its been over 2 years, but I still go back there. The rims are actually in worse shape then they were back then, as if that were possible. Neighbors still walk through on their way home from work or the supermarket. You still have to be careful that the ball doesn’t roll into the street, in the direction of the Dutch marine base. The students still glance your way as they lock their bikes and head inside.
Back in the day, this court was bussling with activity on Thursday evenings or whenever our crew decided it was game time. 5 on 5, full court, half court, 2 on 2, we played it all. Rain… wind.. sun.. rain… rain. We played. It was Sweden vs Germany, Ireland vs. Norway, UK vs. Iceland, and of course, US vs. Canada. Man did we get our asses beat by team Canada. They even showed up in uniforms… we were baffled.
Some traditions never die in international Amsterdam. The pub crawls, the boat rides, the dinner parties, the meetings at Vondelpark. But one tradition that most definitely died after our year graduated, -never again was there a weekly basketball match. Never again was there a crew of people, who no matter how busy, or where their new apartment was, would find their way back to our sacred court for a match.
But I’m a bit like a ghost. I still haunt the court. I still run up and down and curse the wobbly rim, just like old times. People look over at me with blank stares, looking at the guy playing alone. I sometimes think they might be remembering those days as well.