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NCAA Final Four Basketball Fans Test Skills at 'Hoop City'


Surrounding most major sports events in the United States are plenty of activities for visiting fans to enjoy. The men's national college basketball championship finals in Indianapolis (Indiana) features an interactive attraction where fans of all ages can test their sports skills. VOA's Jim Stevenson stopped by a place called Hoop City.

Roger Ortman is the so-called mayor of Hoop City.

"It is basically a sports maniac's heaven. There is something here for everyone," he explains. "Even if you are not a basketball enthusiast, there are (baseball) batting cages, you can clock your fastest fast ball you have, test your golf swing. It is a great opportunity to kind of just catch the excitement of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) weekend."

Housed inside the huge convention center in downtown Indianapolis, Hoop City is adjacent to the RCA Dome, where the nationally televised Final Four is being held. Ortman estimates more than 80,000 fans will visit Hoop City during the four days it is open.

One of the participants was 14-year-old Mason Marsteller of Gainsville, Florida. He won a round of a game called Hot Shot.

"You have to shoot from the spots, five spots," he explains. "There is a one point (location), two pointer, three pointer, four pointer and five pointer."

Mason scored a winning total of 22 points in two rounds lasting 15 seconds each. He joined Hoop City participants who ranged from toddlers to adults. The National Association of Amateur Athletics, which governs college sports in the United States, charges a small entrance fee to the event.

Coaches and past players stop by to give autographs and basketball clinics. And, the NCAA tries to teach a few lessons in good sportsmanship along the way, lessons the governing body hopes will stick with young participants who later become collegiate athletes.

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