Expat Magazine

Antalya Has a Basketball Team!

By Ellen @ElleninTurkey

Antalya has a Basketball Team!

Antalya's Karalioglu Park, right outside Carol and Bill's house.


It was a busy weekend.  Saturday night was the final concert in Antalya's International Piano Festival.  The closing spot was given to the Moscow Virtuosi, a superb chamber orchestra, assisted by several soloists.
The Bach A minor concerto for violin and oboe started the program, and the first half concluded with a young pianist and a Mozart's Concerto.  After the intermission, which was too short for me adequately to recover from the stifling heat in the sold-out auditorium, the concert continued with the Haydn Cello Concerto and ended, appropriately enough, with the Farewell Symphony.  As the players left they turned off the lights on their music stands, and this gradual descent into silence and darkness was magical.  After the performance champagne was served in the Lobby, but since I was already light-headed from heat exhaustion I went straight home.
On Sunday I went Carol's house for my book group (it's a book exchange rather than a book club), where the offerings included Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.  I was even able to make a contribution this week.  I usually read books on my kindle, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found the latest Kate Atkinson at the "take one, leave one" library at the Lara Barut Hotel. If you like intelligent mysteries, check her out.
While we were cozily ensconsed with our tea and cookies, Carol's husband Bill had been standing on line in the rain waitng for the Basketball box office to open. When it finally did, he picked up tickets for all of us and returned with an explanation of the procedure for us novices: We each had to show two different tickets to get in, and had to leave our change at home. Apparently Antalya's team is so bad fans were pelting them with small coins, and this is not allowed.  Rotten fruit, presumably, is still an option.
We then headed off to the stadium, through a more intense security pat-down than you get at Antalya's airport, and made our way to our seats. Bill had secured nine seats together, but two guys were sitting in a couple of our seats. Bill tried to argue with the usher for a while, but eventually gave up and found a couple of seats elsewhere.  I didn't understand why it was so difficult to seat people according to their tickets, but Carol explained that because the place is so often empty, people are used to sitting wherever they want.  It's hard to change the system on those days when seats are scarce.
The stadium is pretty small though, so all the seats are good, and the team played surprisingly well.  Despite at one point being down by 20, after a string of missed layups and turnovers, they came back to actually lead for a few minutes before losing in overtime.  It was really quite exciting.  The three-second rule doesn't seem to be enforced (though it is a rule - I can tell by all the two fingers and thumbs waving every time it should have been called) and goal-tending is apparently allowed.  Other than that it was just like American basketball.  It's a very popular sport here.  Who knew?

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