The smell of deep heat, sweaty shoes and socks, the sound of whistles blowing, balls bouncing and shoes squeaking assault the senses as you walk into the stadium. Visually there is activity everywhere. Three courts with players moving, bench officials waving and gesturing with referees and small kids bouncing balls in corners. Photographers crouch in corners with long lenses and stadium officials lean against the walls with arms crossed surveying it all.
We walked into this environment as a team for the first time 5 days ago. We is, Will 51, Linda 41, Myself 41, Amanda 20, Stephen 20, Jemimah 19, Nathan 16, Thomas 16, Esther 16, Kahlila 15. These are the kids I have been coaching for 2 and a half years and Linda and Will joined in. We decided to enter the 2009 QLD Masters tournament in a social mixed division. Unfortunately no one else did so were grouped into a 45+ Mens division, playing teams who have represented Australia at the World Masters and also teams from interstate.
We had an absolute blast playing these giants. Every team had players well over the 6 foot mark and myself and Nathan are the tallest in our team at 6 foot even. Still we played our best and learned a lot. the other teams were happy to offer advice and assistance. Our best game we finished within 14 points of the other team. Our most fun game was the team that gave us 40 points head start and made it a very close finish – we ended up losing by 3 points. One of these games incidentally was played without Stephen and Will who had taken injuries on the first day. We played 6 games altogether.
I also took a lot of photos, and Jude and Esther (Nathan’s sister) photographed our games for us. Linda is missing from the second team photo because she went for a shower early at the end of the last game. Some of my best photos are below. All the photos can be found on my flickr account.