Joy, good times and tight muscles punctuated another successful edition of the 2021 Barr and Standley 4th Bunbury Masters Basketball carnival, which was held primarily at the South West Sports Centre on Saturday.
And for tournament director Rob Dempster, the satisfaction of seeing people happy meant a lot.
Even if he and dozens of other players were in a bit of pain the following day, after hurling themselves up and down the court.
“I think they can relate to each other because they have the same pains, aches and things like that,” he said.
“So they are all out there enjoying themselves. If anything, I get comments of ‘I wish I could do this more often’ but once a year is kind of good enough.”
One player who relished his time down in the South West was Perth Wildcats legend Ricky Grace, who suited up alongside a number of his old teammates, including Andrew Vlahov and Mike Ellis.
Prior to his team’s final game at the carnival, Grace told the Bunbury Herald he got a real buzz at being able to mingle with people across all of the teams throughout the day — and even though he was keen to play for fun and get some exercise, a degree of competitive juices did begin to flow when he returned to play the game he loves so much.
However, it was not only former NBL stars who dominated throughout the day. A number of South West players clearly had not lost a step either, which made for quality viewing.
“People like ‘Leroy’ Smith from the Slammers, he does cross fit,” Dempster said. “So he is probably the fittest guy out there.
“He could probably walk on his hands from one end of the stadium to the other. There was also a number of other cross-fit guys out there in their late 30s or early 40s and 50s who are doing gym activities and other sports as well.
“It is just one of those things where they are able to use that fitness towards playing basketball for at least a day.”
Dempster praised everyone who helped put the carnival together, however he is keen for more people to join in next year.
“It is nice to have those few who do stick their hands up, but we could always do with some more,” he said.“It is one of those things where it is getting bigger and better every year. The tick box sheet we have to try and do gets bigger too.”