Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogotá, Colombia

It's Christmas Day! Today I completed my mission to hoop with locals in every Country visited in South America. This continues my successful run in Europe 2011 having found a basketball experience in each Country visited there also. In the Candelaria barrio of Colombia's capital Bogotá I hooped with some cool kids. By nightfall we were joined by street performers which made for quite the visual.

After today's effort I'm 6 for 6, having balled in Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

Over the months my Spanish has improved, this experience made a little sweeter with the ability to communicate more. I scored a few tips on where to find the best live HipHop, one of the chicos was a Chef so I'm looking forward to sampling his Restaurant.
Above the Rim
Ball, Beats and Beer
It's Christmas Day! Bogotá, Colombia
Controlling the paint
He's heating up
He's lighting up the floor
Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes': Viral Video mission to dance in 100 different Countries

I haven't met too many people with missions on the road, when I have they've been light and usually halfhearted. That said there are no shortage of epic travel missions crawling the web and circling the Globe.
I met an unassuming man in a Popayán hostel in Colombia, he mentioned being in a parade days earlier with the President in attendance. He showed me his photos amongst locals in traditional costume, nothing out of the ordinary so far.

I generally don't gravitate towards indigenous or traditional cultures, being a city kid I'm more interested in modern subcultures and communities. My basketball mission is a testament to that. That said I'm ultimately interested in humanity, what gives purpose and brings joy. This is common in all people and cultures.
'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes'
(Note: You'll notice Ed rocking this KD35 jersey in his Viral vids)
Through further conversation my dorm-mate Ed explained his plans for South America. He was traveling to film a costumed character from Taiwanese folklore, planning to dance with colorful locals in each place. Colombia was his 63rd Country. The first video was shot in India 2011 and drew inspiration from the popular "Where the hell is Matt" clips.

VIDEO: Where the hell is that Taiwan guy? (South America 2012)

Ed's mission is to promote cultural awareness of Taiwan which he feels doesn't have global exposure because of the long shadow cast by China. I mentioned Taiwan had appeared on my radar because of a visible tourism campaign in Sydney and the meteoric rise of basketball star Jeremy Lin. He replied with a curt "So?" which gave me pause.

Does knowing one famous person from a Country mean you know the place? I realised how absurd my logic was. It's something I've pondered when I've tried to connect to people and where they're from through basketball. Interestingly Ed mentioned that Taiwan wasn't able to compete in the London Olympics under its own flag which demonstrates the complicated politics they have to contend with. It also speaks to the reach and symbolism of sport.

When you travel you meet so many people and visit so many places that most of the insight you gleam is superficial. Personally I don't feel it makes it less profound, curiosity and experience are the keys to awareness and we can choose to go deeper once the doors are open. It was a pleasure meeting Ed, we compared notes on the challenges of pursuing a mission but also the great relationships and opportunities that arise from them. Admittedly his aims are far loftier and meaningful than mine.

Ed in 'Desierto De La Tatacoa', Colombia (Facebook)
Check out Ed's pursuits below:
- Like 'Taiwan Sometimes' Facebook page
- View Ed Wu's Youtube Channel
I encourage you to connect with him if he ever comes down your neck of the woods :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Photography book - Hoop: The American Dream by Robin Layton

TrueHoop TV (Nov 28, 2013)
HENRY ABBOTT: What was the most fun part of shooting this?
ROBIN LAYTON: Oh gosh! Well I grabbed a friend of mine, we rented a van and literally zigzagged across America. I guess the fun part -all of it was fun- just meeting all the different people, knocking on strangers' doors and asking to take pictures of their hoop... just all the different people and how kind Americans are, people all across America to us and how generous they were
ABBOTT: How did you find the hoops?
LAYTON: You know we just randomly looked, drove in the back roads, we knew that Larry Bird's was in French Lick and we knew of a few that were out there and when I was interviewing players they would tell me if they had an existing hoop or not.
But mostly it was just by driving around and by chance coming across them which was really... it's like an Easter Egg hunt. It was really, really fun to do and definitely a challenge to make a 100 hoops look different, it was challenging but it was fun to search for them
Hoop: The American Dream by Robin Layton
Robin Layton is a wonderful inspiration for my own #30HomeGames journey having visited so many places in North America. I've had the pleasure of finding hoops and planting my own flag in Courts around Europe and South America and one day hope to do the same in the States. I've been taking photos of the more unique courts I've found in my travels though unfortunately most weren't in use. Like Robin stated, the joy for me is the connection with people. The documentation is bonus.
A map of the places Robin and friend Kim Carney found hoops
Interestingly Robin's running mate Kim Carney collected found objects in each of the Courts they visited which creates an interesting mosaic of Americana and wonderful memento trigger of their odyssey.

- Find Robin's offical photobook website here - hoop: the american dream™
- Relive Robin's journey on her hoop blog
- Buy the Photo Book from Robin's Online shop