The boys on the team for the DC Sentinels, a local gay basketball team, are nice and easy to talk to off the court. Once you start playing, however, you'd better know your stuff. You don't want to get the same reaction I did when they told me to play offense and I asked, ''What does that mean?''
Truth be told, it helped break the ice, and it only took a few seconds for them to get me up to speed on basketball basics.
I joined the DC Sentinels around 2 p.m. on a recent Saturday and we shot some hoops, broke into teams, and played a total of four games. At least, they played four. I managed two.
It's a good thing I joined the DC Sentinels for an ''open court'' meet. Had it been a ''practice day'' I wouldn't have set foot on the court, because that's when things get serious.
Meeting locally at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Northeast D.C., the group also competes regularly in gay basketball tournaments around the country. There are some social events, as well.
If you want to meet up with the Sentinels to dribble away a Saturday, there's no charge. If you plan to stick around, expect to pony up some minor fees for gym use and social events. Just let them know you're coming by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and get ready to play ball.