Gus Macker - A whole family event

It is that time of year again, Gus Macker is almost here! Can you smell the new rubber basketball smell in the air? The hoops have been sitting behind the firehouse for a week, just waiting to be setup; waiting for the fun family filled weekend to begin.

Personally, I played in Gus Macker a few times when I was in middle school, years ago. I've also taken Liam, in the more recent years to see his uncle play and shoot a few hoops himself. But when I just realized this was the 19th year of the event, this weekend, I was totally surprised! I guess I'm just a custom to it being here every summer. I just didn’t realize how many years it really had been going on in our community.

My favorite part about Gus Macker as a kid was definitely Friday night. Because they set the hoops up early, Friday night they are all open. Teams can practice and kids just have fun playing basketball with their friends and family. I think about this memory every year Gus Macker rolls around. I remember when I was younger, how magical and special it was. I mean, really, they close a whole street just for basketball!

So maybe you're not a sports or basketball fan, I can't lie I'm not super sports inclined myself. However, Gus Macker is so much more than just a basketball tournament. It's really an event for the whole family. Yes, the streets may be closed for tournament play, but several other activities and experiences can be found throughout the downtown Norwich area, during the weekend. In the ‘kids zones’, there are smaller hoops, bounce houses and other activities for younger children. In the park, families can find several local organizations cooking up and serving delicious one of a kind foods. Music always filled the downtown air. Plus the downtown businesses are open for unique shopping experiences.

The other facet of Gus Macker, I love is that the money spent throughout the weekend gives back to our whole community in various ways too. The money they raise in the ‘kids’ zone’ goes to support our local Relay for Life. Those nonprofit venders are turning your food orders into high school scholarship money. The local businesses you are shopping at are using the profits to support their families, so they can give back too. Plus the YMCA, in general, provides a great sense of community within our community. I love the interrelated and people helping people ideas within this whole event! What a sense of fellowship and giving, all within a basketball tournament!

The spirit you find at an event like this is so special; I wish we could bottle it up. There's a real sense of community and doing something for the greater good, for entire families to enjoy, in an active way. I'm grateful to be a part of this community and thankful to the Norwich Family YMCA, along with all the volunteers that make this event possible year after year.

If you're playing, good luck! If you're looking for something to do with your family this weekend, head down, take a walk around and enjoy! I encourage you to watch a game or two. Chances are you will see someone you know, young or old, playing on a court. If not, cheer those young athletes on. The smiles on their faces from your encouragement will be priceless and I guarantee you will make their day. It's an event for our community and it's specifically geared towards your whole family. What's not to love and enjoy about that? I know I'll be there with my wee ones, enjoying the festivities and cheering from the sidelines! Hope to see you there!

Rachel Ballin

*Special Thanks to Tom Revoir for all your insight into Gus Macker.

I’d love to hear from you and see what fun you have at Gus Macker. Please find me on Facebook at ‘Baby Talk – with Rachel’. You can like, share and post your related experiences, plus read more from me throughout the week with my busy family. There are loads of great ideas, updates about our ongoing projects and more of your questions answered

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