Research in sport has tended to focus on ‘spectacular’ or ‘extraordinary’ experiences, at the expense of discussing how particular phenomena are embedded in everyday life. Drawing on ethnographic research with a university basketball team in the North of England, this article considers the meanings that amateur players attach to basketball and how such meanings go beyond their participation in competitive games. Analysis reveals the rhythms and rituals which are hugely important in determining the players’ sense of self. It also highlights the carnivalesque celebrations which allow the players to temporarily disrupt the status quo and experiment with alternative identities. In conclusion, it is argued that the meaning of sport should not be seen as rigid, determining and predictable, but rather a creative experience that is largely dependent on the subjective appropriation of time and place.