A 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon sits parked across the key. My dad is seated at midcourt, eating a salami-and-cheese sandwich and doing a crossword puzzle. When the buzzer sounds, participants must convnce my dad to get up and move the car out of the way so they can shoot at the basket. The first two players to sink five shots - without the ball hitting the car - advance to the finals, where they'll have to help Dad push a broken-down 1976 Toyota Corolla out of the key before continuing.
Competitors begin by lowering the hoop to seven feet, using a broomstick or a sturdy rake to trigger the basket's release switch. Then, they must find a deflated mini-basketball in a cardboard box full of old sports equipment. Dunkers will be scored based on style and speed, with bonus points awarded if the cute girl from the other end of Stevenson Drive walks by and sees them dunk.
Making a Simple, Unguarded Left-Handed Lay-Up
Dribbling and shooting with only the left hand, players must make a single lay-up. As I repeatedly insisted to my fourth-grade basketball coach, this is far more difficult than it appears.
Challengers dribble through an obstacle course made up of orange soccer cones and overturned garbage cans. Then they must throw a series of bounce passes and chest passes at targets on the side of the house - without my mom coming out and yelling at them. Lowest time/least lecturing wins.
Letting the Kid Win
In an event pioneered by my dad, participants will attempt to build the confidence of an young, unskilled, hesitant teammate with a fragile ego by letting them win a game of one-on-one. The veteran must lose the game convincingly, so that his teammate does not suspect the ruse, fight back tears, and then run inside to organize his baseball cards and re-read The Fellowship of the Ring.