Suraj Menon shoots hoops at Mission Playground, his usual work out place during the pandemic. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

“I’m a competitive person,” said Suraj Menon, a 32 -year-old Mission resident. 

Menon is drawn to almost any type of contest, he said, and used to love playing Super Smash Bros. Melee for the rivalries it encouraged.  

“Honestly, the most intense moments of my life have been playing that game,” Menon said. 

Through his adult life, Menon’s competitive drive has mostly been focused on basketball, and that is where I found him: shooting hoops at the Mission Playground, the closest court to his house. 

“When you’re guarding somebody one on one, that’s like a fierce battle,” Menon said.

Menon used to cruise the city’s basketball courts, looking to join pick-up games or recurring groups, but knee pain has clipped his playing.

“My knees just needed a break,” Menon said. “I’ve been trying to get them back in shape to play again, but basketball’s kind of an intense game.” 

Now, Menon goes to the Mission Playground court four or five times a week to do more low-impact workouts, like push-ups, burpees and cycling. Still, he says, 

“I miss the thrill” of basketball, he says. 

As an engineer, Menon started working remotely even before the pandemic, but he did so from local cafes. Nowadays, he works from home, so the park serves as a respite.

“It’s a good place to just stand outside, get some fresh air. It’s kind of relaxing to shoot the ball,” Menon said.

Juan Carlos Lara

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at...

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