Going back to the hoop

SALE’S golden age of basketball came alive again at the weekend, as 200 people descended on the Lakeside Club and Gippsland Regional Sports Club for a night of memories.

The Sale Amateur Basketball Association hosted a reunion for people involved in its “club system” during the 1970s and 1980s.

Exhibition games were fought hard between former players, with some certainly rustier than others.

A display of memorabilia at the Lakeside Club was also well-appreciated, with uniforms hanging from the ceiling and old banners unfurled.

Organiser Karen Deschepper said it was a hysterical weekend, with plenty of stories shared about the clubs system.

“Everyone had a blast,” she said.

“We recreated a photo from 40 years ago, of the teams we sent to the USA, and we had 17 of the original 25.

“We also opened a bottle of wine we kept from a fundraiser to get them over there.”

Former coaches Eric Lowe and John Salter also visited, and said there were very impressed to see the core group of people still involved after all these years.

Lowe said it did not take much more than a phone call from Deschepper to get back to Sale.

“It’s basically a 40-year anniversary since our trip to the US,” he said.

“This is just awesome, you’re seeing so many people you were involved with, and reminiscing about good times — they used to get on the basketball court and bash the hell out of each other.”

Salter agreed. “To see the people you coached when they were 12 and 13-year-olds, and now they’ve got 12 and 13-year-olds — they’re all the same, we’ve all got older, but they’re the same people, there’s the same passion,” he said.

Yvonne May, who had a long association with the clubs, said the organisers had done a marvellous job.

“To recognise the faces, all the kids that I used to have playing with my kids are now adults, some of them are grandparents,” she said.

“It’s good to see everyone happy and enjoying themselves — I bet you some of them are suffering out there though.”