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Baby boomers B ball 10th tournament

The constellation of former local high school basketball stars lighting up the SouthWest Community Center gym on winter Sunday afternoons doesn't need to revive old rivalries.

For the past decade the Baby Boomers {Over 40} Basketball League has given perpetuity to moves they made on each other back in the day.

"There are very few injuries," said tournament founder James "Puddin" Jackson, noting that B & B Lounge's John Wagner was still playing at 61. "These guys never stopped playing."

Coached by his partner in league coordination Ed Mitchell, Jackson plays for B & B, which, along with Battle Florist and FOCUS {Firefighters of Color United in Syracuse}, has fielded teams in the league in each of its ten years of existence. B & B defeated International {a Northside barbershop and variety store} 43 to 30 in a March 9 league championship semi-final. Ballard Construction beat Total Care 52 to 32 in the other semi.

The winners will meet at SouthWest Community Center, 401 South Avenue, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 16. Admission is free of charge. Entrance is off the parking lot at the back of the building.

"You wouldn't believe how socially conscious we've become over the years," Jackson said as former Nottingham stalwarts Tony Ford, Pony Bullock and Gary Sparks took warm-up shots for Sunday's opening semi. "We're trying to role model for these teenagers. We do a lot of talking before and after the games. There's a tremendous bond out here. The competition is intense, but it's left on the court. And I got to give a shout-out to Chuck McGee and his officials. They keep the whole thing together by letting these folks play."

Fund raiser for youth programs

Jackson and SWCC executive director Jesse Dowdell took advantage of the semi-final afternoon to announce a fund raiser for the center's intergenerational programming with neighborhood youth, Friday, April 4, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at SWCC featuring entertainment and culinary delights.

Donation is $100, or $800 for a table of eight. "Our goal is early intervention," Jackson said. "Every time you turn around they're cutting funds for youth programs."

For further information, call Jackson at 395-9278 or Dowdell at 671-5802.

Photo: Pat Orr

Basketball greats have a great time gathering for the 10th annual Baby Boomer tourney at the Southwest Community Center.

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