Volume 94, Issue 3
Friday, June 2, 2000
Macker gets estrogen boost
By Colleen Ross
If the annual Gus Macker three-on-three tournament is any indicator, basketball is slowly becoming the sport of choice among females.
The hoopla surrounding this year's biggest street ball tournament, which took place this past weekend, had an increase in the number of female players, explained Simone Ball, logistics coordinator for the event. "Young females (ages 13-14) were our biggest participants," she said.
Ball explained the interest is in part due to the growth of organized basketball in London. "It's really being promoted in our school system," she said.
Female players made up about 300 of the 1420 competing teams, up from last year, said tournament coordinator Clyde Adkin.
Adkin said approximately 5,700 participants played on the basketball courts set up around Victoria Park, three-quarters of whom were 17 and under. London boasts the largest three-on-three basketball tournament of the 86 North American host cities, he said.
He also explained the winning teams would not move on to another level after this tournament. "They just come back next year."
Male players dazzled crowds with slam dunks, while female players impressed with their sound footwork and precision, said head referee, Mike Foubert. "Men are extremely athletic. However, women play a [more] fundamentally sound game," Foubert said.
"Men can rely on athleticism to make up for a mistake," he added, explaining the women, smaller by nature, had to depend on good footwork and solid, deliberate passes.
Red-faced from hours in the sun, Foubert said he blew his whistle more often during the women's games than the men's, but not because the women committed more fouls. It was easier to see contact between female players because a woman may recoil from a push or a jab, for example, he said. There was an equal amount of contact in the men's games, but it was harder to tell because of the players' size, Foubert said.
Foubert said there was an exceptional number of talented male players this year. He said in previous years, a good team had only to beat two or three other teams to make it to the top. This year, there were six or seven teams to beat out. Foubert, who has refereed at all eight of the London tournaments, said the quality of play gets better every year.
The overall number of participants has been increasing steadily since 1992, when Adkin first helped organize the event in London. It began with a mere 392 teams.
Still, Adkin said he doubted the tournament would continue to grow. "It's just so dependent on the volunteers that it would be difficult to expand."
Copyright © The Gazette 2000