SPOKANE, Wash. – The largest three-on-three basketball tournament in the world is just a few days from kicking off in downtown Spokane; but so are some of the hottest temperatures of the year.
After a week of rainy, cool weather, we're set to get a blast of summer heat as the mercury is expected to soar into the mid-90's.
"You don't want to wait until you're thirsty to start drinking, so the best thing you can do is to just get in the habit of drinking regularly during the day," Spokane Regional Health District Epidemiologist Dr. Mark Springer told KHQ.
Dr. Springer says if you start to feel tired, dizzy, have muscle aches or cramping, an unusually fast heart rate, or are sweating more than you should, you should stop playing get help. Those are all signs of heat exhaustion – but if you don't address them, they can lead to heat stroke.
That advice isn't just for the athletes – if you're coming down to be a cheerleader, you also need to remember your water, sunscreen and light clothing.
One of the 28,000 people playing in the tournament this year is Jim Metzger – at 89 years young.
"I told the kids the other day I think the first thing that goes in the crib after the diaper is the basketball, so that's about as long as I've been playing," he told KHQ's Kelsey Watts, laughing.
He'll be playing in the family co-ed division along with his grandkids – his first Hoopfest on the court, after years of watching them play from the sidelines.
"As long as it doesn't get over 100 degrees I think we're going to be alright," Metzger said, adding that he's not too worried about the hot forecast. "The kids are going to do most of the playing, and they're going to get me in there once in a while, more for laughs than anything I think."
This year, a quarter million people are expected to converge on downtown Spokane, as 7,000+ teams representing 28,000 players square off, with 225,000 fans cheering them on.