Created: August 09, 2020 10:51 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An unlikely group of basketballers have banded together on the courts of Arroyo del Oso Park during the pandemic.
Some of the members, like Lola Smith, hadn't picked up a basketball in years. Lola said she decided to join after she began to tire of her walks around the park.
"I found that going for these walks on my own was isolating and it just got boring and I happened to look over here one day and saw one of the gentleman playing and I thought, 'I'm gonna go buy a basketball,'" Lola said.
Lola came back the next day, joining a group of strangers who soon became fast friends.
"It's a very welcoming group. Anyone who wants to play just shows up and there's always room for more," Lola said.
Everyone on the court comes from different states and some even come from different parts of the world.
"It's awesome because you get so many different perspectives you get so many different viewpoints and how life is, like Kim— he's from South Korea," said Corey, a park basketball player.
"I was mostly playing computer games before and, you know, being stuck at home seeing nobody was driving me crazy, but right now it's good to get out and get some sun so it's actually being a real positive effect on my life," Kim said.
"We have meaningful conversations here on the court. I never knew that men do that. Something I learned, ladies," Lola added.
Lola is the only woman in the group so far. She hopes others will join her newfound community.
"The gentleman that I play with a true gentleman all the time, and they taught me how to shoot I really didn't know how to shoot," she said. "It's been a great experience I would definitely recommend to other ladies go grab a ball. Buy a ball, show up at court and you would be surprised what happens."
You can catch the group at Arroyo del Oso Park most weekday mornings. Everyone is welcome to play
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