Thursday, July 10, 2014

Basketball in Salamanca

I have played basketball for a few years back in England, but after almost a year of travelling around and being in places where it wasn't a popular sport, I was excited to come to Salamanca and try and seek out some opportunities to continue playing.  I knew the sport was big in Spain with some Spanish players, such as Pau Gasol playing at a top level in the NBA in America.

Compared to England where for most of the year we are limited to playing inside, I knew with the great Spanish weather there would be some opportunity to play basketball in the open air, and wasn't disappointed with what I found! Here in Salamanca there are loads of good quality outdoor courts to play and practice on.  The most popular that I have visited so far is in the 'Parque de los Jesuitas' not far from 'Paseo Canelejas'. Here they have four outdoor courts next to each other with good smooth ground and good quality baskets. You can often find locals playing basketball down here and it's really easy to get into a game with them! This gives you the option of just practicing on one of the rings (with so many there it is very rare that all are occupied) or joining in for a bit of a scrimmage with the locals! The setting of the courts is great, set at the bottom end of the park in between trees and next to some fountains, it's a very pretty place to play basketball. There is also a bar in the middle of the park and plenty of trees to relax under in the shade after a hard game out in the sun! Though this park seems to be the main place to go as it is the closes to the city centre, there are plenty of others dotted around the city, check out a map here  to see where the closest court is to you!

Salamanca has a professional Woman's team who go by the name of 'Perfumerias Avenida'. In 2011 they won both the national league and the European  championship, so there is obviously a high standard of basketball here in the city! They play their home games at the 'Pabellon Wurzburg', situated a little further out of the city centre but still within walking distance. Though at the moment it is off season for basketball, so it might be difficult to see a game over the summer, however if you are here over the winter months then a live basketball game always has a great atmosphere! As I previously said, basketball is a big sport in Spain, being one of the most popular together with football. Many cities in Spain have a team that compete in the national league, with Barcelona taking the title last year. If you want to get up to date on any basketball news in Spain, check out the official league website here for any news, transfers and fixture lists!

So if you do come and visit Salamanca and fancy a game of basketball, let me know! I am hoping to get a group together for a regular game every week, this Saturday is the first one so hopefully it will become a weekly event. Even if you haven't played before and want to give it a try, come on down and enjoy yourself!

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