Senior Basketball

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First Day of Summer And The Kid Is Playing Hoops

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

120115-BobBasketball.45web Senior or masters basketball has become a popular sport for kids at heart, from baby boomers to those well into their 70s and 80s.

YUCAIPA – I remember as a kid rarely touching a basketball in June. Summers on a Minnesota farm were spent baling hay and cultivating about 220 acres of corn and soybeans from sun up to sun down.

For hardworking farm boys, precious free time for sports was spent in a cow pasture, or freshly baled hay field playing baseball or fast-pitch softball.

Basketball? Not even a thought. It’s a winter sport and in June there’s no snow on the ground.

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Humbling Day at the California Senior Games Championships

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

PASADENA, Calif. – Sometimes when success comes our way in sports, the ego will bloat with pride and proclaim, “Iook how good I am!”

Sunday, June 5, my senior (age 65-69) basketball team competed in the California Senior Games in Pasadena. The tournament would decide which teams in age divisions from 50 to 80-over would win state championships, and also qualify for the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

I thought my team the Huntington Beach Surf Riders had a good shot at taking our division. We had won a tournament in San Diego and finished second in another. So I was feeling confident when we walked into the Pasadena City College gymnasium Sunday morning.

That confidence all too soon took a dreadful beating. We went 0-4 and none of the games were close. We were like a mediocre high school team taking on good college teams.

But despite the disappointment, I learned another of life’s valuable lessons that only comes from experience: Beware when your ego starts boasting, “look how good I am!” It’s false praise. Because somewhere, sometime you will meet someone (or team) more talented, and inevitably learn that you aren’t nearly the hot shot you thought you were.

USA claims championships in FIMBA Pan Am Games in Costa Rica

Friday, May 13th, 2016
The United States age 55-plus team celebrates winning the championship at the 2016 FIMBA Pan American Games in Costa Rica, April 23-30. Contributed photo / Jim Sweeney

The United States age 55-plus team celebrates winning the championship at the 2016 FIMBA Pan American Games in Costa Rica, April 23-30. Contributed photo / Jim Sweeney

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – The USA 50-plus and 55-plus teams won their respective age divisions at the Federation of International Masters Basketball Association (FIMBA) Pan Am Games in San Jose, Costa Rica, April 23-30.

The Pan Am Games had 157 teams from 19 countries comprised of several age divisions from 45-plus to 75-plus, competing in the event.

“The goal is to send 15 Untied States teams to FIMBA’s next world championship in Italy in summer 2017,” said Jim Sweeney, Head of USA for FIMBA, whose role is to recruit teams for FIMBA’s international tournaments.

Sweeney adds that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called FIMBA the best senior (ages 35-plus) sports federation in the world.

The United States age 50-plus team won the championship at the 2016 FIMBA Pan American Games in Costa Rica, April 23-30. Contributed photo / Jim Sweeney

The United States 50-plus team won the championship at the 2016 FIMBA Pan American Games in Costa Rica, April 23-30. Contributed photo / Jim Sweeney

To learn more about becoming involved, visit the FIMBA website , or contact Jim Sweeney for more information at 727-460-8932.

Immortalizing Kobe’s Greatness

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I have never been much of a Kobe Byant fan. Principally because he’s a Laker and I’ve hated the Lakers ever since they snuck out of Minneapolis in 1960 and had all that enviable success in LaLa Land, and all that ballyhooed “Showtime” with Magic and company.

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Old guy passes risky basketball two-for test

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

120115-BobBasketball.45web Bob Otto has been disparaged by many of his former basketball coaches as a poor defender, bad passer, weak rebounder, and so-so shooter. Yet at 67 he ignores their critique and the painful cries of his aging body, and continues to play hoops. The sport he has loved since boyhood.

DRAYSON CENTER, LOMA LINDA, Calif. – Foolish, risky, and what the hell was I thinking? All three assertions applied to my senior basketball venture on Monday at the Drayson Center. I decided a “two-for” was in order. Meaning playing basketball twice in a day – once in the morning from 11:30 – 1:15 and at night, 6 – 7:40.

17 year olds laugh at two-fors. And it’s no challenge even for 27 year olds. But at 67? At 40 years past my prime? It’s like opening the door for injury and saying, “come right in and wreck havoc with my old body.”

All my appendages and muscles (most of which are rapidly deteriorating) from the bottom of my feet to the top of my salt-and-pepper head were put at risk from the physically demanding two-for.

Especially my fragile left ankle. I had just been freed from 10 weeks of a spat of painful tendonitis. But on Sunday the ankle felt great; it turned and torqued and rotated like a frisky colt romping around a corral.

So Monday I decided a test was due. Why test the fragile ankle’s limits of basketball endurance? Why risk a setback from a two-for? See foolish and what-was-I-thinking in my opening line.

When I awoke Tuesday morning, I swung my legs out of bed and gingerly arose to my full 5-feet-9 stature (yes, little guys still play in the land of the giants). I took one step, then two. No pain, no creaking or crackling of the left ankle, or any other joints. What a glorious occasion! For I had just passed the two-for test.

Will I do it again? Once more, please refer to the first line.

Putting some bounce in my workout

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

senior.Bball.web Senior basketball (ages 50 to 83) players of the Drayson Center in Loma Linda, Calif. I am first on the left of the bottom row.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Yesterday I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes and didn’t enjoy one minute of it. I also lifted weights and that wasn’t much fun either.

I needed to make a change in my stale fitness routine and today I did. I asked myself: “What do I really enjoy doing physically to stay in shape?” The answer came quick – basketball.

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