DOVER This summer season, Bob Brown was 81 years previous and a rock star.
A world one, at that.
A life constructed round a love of competing and a love of basketball reached two main milestones over the summer season. First, the Dover native was a part of an age-group (80-and-older) nationwide champion 3-on-Three crew on the Nationwide Senior Video games Affiliation championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in June.
Then, a month later, he turned a world champion when his crew received the Federation of Worldwide Masters Basketball Affiliation 80-and-over championship in Espoo, Finland.
“Basketball is one thing I get pleasure from and its good for me bodily,” mentioned Brown, a retired school professor. “I learn rather a lot about staying wholesome. The 2 principal issues are weight loss plan and train. I cant consider a greater strategy to get train than to play basketball.”
Brown, who now makes his house in Rollinsford, is a daily on the McConnell Middle in Dover, taking part in video games on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with gamers a long time youthful.
“He by no means gave up his love for sports activities,” mentioned his pal, Walter King. “He continues to amaze these of us who play basketball with him on the McConnell Middle and are 10 to 30 years his junior.”
The rewards from a life spent competing arent simply contained in a shoe field overflowing with colourful medals. Additionally they include each sport he performs, and plans to proceed to play for so long as his physique will let him.
“Its all the time a problem,” mentioned Brown. “Its not simply the crew. Its a one-on-one problem: Beat your man and shut your man down. And successful? From once I was a younger child, it was all the time vital. Its all the time been a precedence.”
In Finland, his USA crew didnt simply win. It raced previous foes from Russia, Brazil, Uruguay and Finland, outscoring them by practically a 2-to-1 margin. The closest sport was the gold-medal sport in opposition to Russia, which had a 14-point margin.
The followers, all of them youthful, many by a number of a long time, cheered on the dominance. Brown made his largest contributions as an out of doors shooter however famous, “I nonetheless use the right- and left-handed hook (shot), which form of surprises individuals typically.”
Irrespective of that he and his teammates had been a step or a number of steps slower than they had been of their primes. Or grayer. Or smaller. (Brown, whose top peaked at 5-foot-11, ruefully admits to 5-foot-Eight now, and hes had two hip substitute surgical procedures.)
They know the attraction of basketball transcends age. Its about execution and teamwork and camaraderie, and thats what had the followers in Finland cheering for them.
“For some purpose, the followers over there appeared to fall in love with us,” mentioned Brown. “It was loopy. I believe a part of it’s the youthful approach that we performed. Were 80 and operating quick breaks, issues like that.”
Brown was an athlete at Dover Excessive College within the 1950s, however didnt depart a lot of a basketball mark. His freshman 12 months, the coach left and the soccer coach took over the crew. Brown mentioned he bought pissed off with the way in which he was used, how he would lead the crew in scoring one sport and by no means depart the bench the subsequent, and ended up quitting the crew.
“Highschool basketball was not a enjoyable expertise,” he mentioned.
Soccer was slightly higher. Regardless of an damage that price him a couple of video games early within the season he now believes it was a concussion, however doesnt keep in mind the way it occurred he returned to make a school-record three interceptions in a win over Somersworth, a crew that was on a multi-year win streak.
“That damage ended his dream of taking part in school soccer and all contact sports activities for the subsequent 5 years,” famous King.
The game of basketball stayed in Browns life: intramurals throughout school at UNH, grad faculty and after hed earned his doctorate and settled right into a professors job at California College of Pennsylvania, the place hed educate for 35 years.
It was whereas at Cal U in Pennsylvania that he started attending the Nationwide Senior Video games, which had been being held in close by West Virginia. He and his household returned to Dover every summer season, and he was a daily within the Metropolis League.
By taking part in varied state championship tournaments, he an invitation from an acquaintance who was placing collectively a crew for the Nationwide Championships in Albuquerque, which featured groups taking part in 3-on-3. Browns crew received all eight video games it performed, by a complete margin of 264-134.
Three of the gamers from that crew had been picked for the nine-man squad that may symbolize the U.S. on the world championships in Finland.
“One of many large surprises was after we landed in Finland,” Brown mentioned. “I used to be touring with a (teammate) from Rhode Island and after we met the crew, I noticed there have been 9 of us. I mentioned, What are we going to do with 9 individuals? I didnt know till we bought to Finland that we had been taking part in five-on-five, full-court.”
At 81, Brown appreciates that many seniors see him as an inspiration. Athletics, he says, have been one of many linchpins of his life, and are additionally embraced by his three kids and 7 grandchildren, one in all whom shall be taking part in school basketball subsequent 12 months.
“I attempt to go the message round,” he mentioned. “Should you dont wish to die, keep energetic and eat proper.”
The world championships are held each two years, and he plans to be a part of them the subsequent time round.
“Im taking part in basketball three or 4 days every week, and many of the guys Im taking part in with are of their 60s,” Brown mentioned. “If I can sustain with them, then once Im up in opposition to 80-year-olds I should not have any drawback.”