SARATOGA SPRINGS —
On Wednesdays between November and March, you can watch the Over 50 Basketball League enjoy themselves on the court in a healthy competition between eight teams. Gentlemen aged 50 and over gather once a week to play basketball and socialize. Bill Carey, who also plays in the league, is the commissioner who works every year to coordinate the season.
“Bill does a great job coordinating all the schedules and working with the Y and getting the refs there. He does a great job with that,” said Rory Wilson, a player in the league and owner of D’Andrea’s Pizza.
“There are sign-ups every year, usually in September and there is a fee for non-members and members, but it is open to anybody that wants to play,” Wilson explained.
Each team has five to six players, totaling about 45 athletes between the eight teams, and upwards of 55 people involved, including the referees.
“The coaches are players, too. So, it’s a good thing that they can play and coach at the same time. Player-coaches we like to call them,” Wilson said.
The league has several sponsors, including D’Andrea’s Pizza, which also sponsors the YMCA Youth Basketball League.
“I’m actually on Jones and Steve’s team. I sponsor a team but I’m not on it. That’s one of the funny parts of the league,” Wilson laughed.
Barely making the age cut for the league at 50 years old, Wilson has been involved in YMCA basketball for many years.
“I coached my kids many years ago in Y basketball, so I’ve always been involved with that. I’ve stayed in touch with people through the years and I knew a couple of guys that played, and they asked me to play. You meet new friends and keep old friendships growing. It’s a good way to keep the bonds going,” he said.
“I just like being a player. It’s too much on me to try to direct the team and know who’s going to sub in and sub out; just ‘tell me what to do, I’ll go do it.,’” he explained.
Wilson plays forward on the court and he played basketball for LaSalle in high school.
“The league keeps growing. Some years you have your good years, some years you have an offyear but we try to keep getting the message out that it’s there, it’s a good competitive league. It’s a lot of fun, just guys getting together playing some hoops, making friendships, keeping friendships going. It’s a great group of guys. It’s more than just basketball. It’s like a family and that’s what I think gets missed sometimes with the way things are. Once the playing is done, the game is over, you’re all friends and it’s just a great feeling. It’s good to get out of the house and stay athletic,” he said.
Championship games begin in March, two sets of games take place every Wednesday; the first set begins at 7:15 p.m. and the second set begins at 8:25 p.m.