Friday, November 16, 2007

Mark Messier at Open Gym at Saratoga High

Last night I went to Saratoga High School in Saratoga, CA to play pick-up basketball. I met four other guys from my Wednesday night church league team. We haven't played a game in two weeks and don't play again until Nov. 28th, so want to stay fit for our next game. The word from my teammates is that our next opponent will be our most difficult.

At the open gym, there were two games running side by side, and about 30 guys were there. It's 'winner stays' and the brand of basketball was pretty good. There was ball movement, not an over abundance of fouling, and good attitudes all around. Everyone was expected to pay $3 to play.

Interestingly enough, hockey great Mark Messier was there! He seemed to there by himself, but may have been there with another guy I saw him talking to. When I first saw him he seemed familiar to me, but I didn't outright identify him. I didn't know it was him until I got to talking to a former colleague of mine from Synnex named Allen who happened to be there. Allen randomly said to me, "Hey, did you know that's Mark Messier, he comes to this open gym a lot", as he pointed to him dribbling the ball on the sideline.
Taken straight from Wikipedia: Mark Messier is widely considered among the best NHL players of all time. He is second on the all-time career lists for regular season points (1887), playoff points (295) and regular season games played (1756). He won six Stanley Cups with the Oilers and Rangers, and is the only professional athlete to captain two different teams to championships. In 2007 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Full Wikipedia HERE.

I am not a devoted hockey fan, but you don't have to be to have heard of Mark Messier. He is a legendary sports figure who played much of his career in New York City's Madison Square Garden. Thursday night, it was neat to see him as a regular guy who just wanted to play some basketball. He seems to be a decent basketball player and I could tell he is fierce competitor.
Whether he lives in Saratoga, CA these days I don't know. But the fact that he was described as a 'regular' at this open gym would indicate that at least one of his houses is there.

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