NORWICH – It’s that time of year again and Mackermania is in the air as the 15th Annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament makes its return to downtown Norwich.
YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen reported that 434 teams, consisting of 1,736 players, will participate this year, and estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people will attend the event.
As is the norm, the tournament will shut down a portion of East Main Street and the P&C/Tops parking lot for the weekend as teams compete on 33 individual basketball courts. In the course of its 15-year history, over 25,000 athletes have participated in the local Gus Macker, and Mulleen said the YMCA and other community-based organizations, thanks to the efforts of approximately 6,000 volunteers, has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
“Anytime you have people supporting an event like this, it’s a testament to the kind of community we have here,” said Mullen, who stressed there “still remains a strong focus on youth and family” at the yearly tournament.
Approximately 60 percent of all participants are under the age of 18, he added.
“Anytime you can get community organizations to capitalize on an event like Gus Macker, it’s only going to benefit more people,” said Mullen. “For 15 years, we’ve had sponsors that have been involved every year and that’s pretty special.”