“Gus Macker is the best thing that has ever happened to Norwich,” contends 16-year old Norwich resident Tyler Saroka. To say in the last 16 years that something else has been better than the annual three-on-three basketball tournament would make for a good argument. The only certainty after 11 consecutive years in Norwich is that every second weekend in July, for great reason, the people always come back to fill the streets.
“One of the main reasons Gus Macker is a great event is because of the tradition is has created,” said 10-time participant Jeffrey Mirabito, a former Norwich resident who has played with the same team since the first Norwich Macker. “It brings a lot of people to Norwich, and you get to see people that you haven’t seen – it’s a reunion of sorts.”
Basketball is a simple game. To be played at the highest level one needs a strong understanding of the game’s strategy, exceptional skill, outstanding athletic ability, a great attitude and an even better agent. But basketball can be much less than that, which makes it essentially much more. To be done at all, by anyone – and to have fun while doing it – all one really needs is a ball, a hoop, and willingness to shoot. Physically impossible with football, soccer, and baseball, Gus Macker transforms an entire city into a stadium, seating thousands of fans who watch hundreds of homegrown stars.