Basketball is a way of life for the Savage family. Jerry Savage had sons Michael, Jim and Kevin shooting hoops when they were knee-high. Now the boys are all twentysomething, and it is still basketball that unites the Savage family.
The Savages will continue a five-year tradition this weekend when they play in the Hoop-It-Up three-on-three basketball tournament in the Camden Yards parking lot.
"The tournament is a fun thing that has worked out well for us," said Jerry Savage, 57, the basketball coach at Loyola High School. "We get a lot of publicity for playing, but that's not why we do it. We do it to get together as a family."
In the past, the Savages always have won a few games to advance to the second day of play, but then run into taller and quicker teams. Their weekends have been cut short by former Dunbar star Skip Wise and other playground legends. This year, the family engaged in some pre-tournament preparation.
"We only practiced because we knew another team that wanted to shoot around before Hoop-It-Up," said Kevin Savage, 26. "We'll probably do the same as we always do, win a couple of games, then run into better teams."
For this basketball-crazed family, there is no better place to spend Father's Day than on the court.
Jerry Savage played at Mount St. Mary's before embarking on a coaching career. Michael, 29, and Kevin both played varsity ball for their dad at Loyola High, and Michael went on to play for Loyola College.
"We're all pretty good shooters, so we'll just stick to the outside shots," Kevin Savage said. "We really have nothing else to go to."
They always could go to the chalkboard. Jerry Savage has been drawing up plays for nearly 30 years, and Michael and Kevin have helped their dad instruct the Dons. But Jerry Savage is not about to drop the ball and pick up a clipboard.
"He likes playing more than us," Kevin Savage said. "He wants to be in there at the end of the game."
So, why does dad get to be team captain, and come off the bench at crunch time? "Hey, he uses his authority," Kevin Savage said. "He's the father, we're the sons."
HOOP IT UP
What: Pepsi/Farm Fresh Hoop-It-Up three-on-three street basketball tournament to benefit Cystic Fibrosis and Educate Youth Awareness.
Where: Camden Yards
When: Tomorrow and Sunday. Saturday play starts at 9 a.m.; Sunday play starts at 9 a.m., with the women's final at 2 p.m. and the men's final at 2:30 p.m.
Who: More than 2,800 players of all skill and age levels.
For spectators: There will be 9-foot slam dunk and three-point shooting contests on both days.