David Silver founded the Silver Basketball league back in 2007 with initial success. Three years later, he relocated to Vancouver for work, leaving a void in the league’s leadership.
And in stepped Michael Carrier.
Carrier, a friend of Silver’s, did not want the league to disband after Silver relocated.
“[Silver] left and I just figured it was a just good thing to do,” Carrier said.
The league is the first that Carrier has played in, and the four year veteran and law professor at Rutgers School of Law-Camden, has thoroughly enjoyed his time. Through word of mouth the league has been able to grow and in the process has created some new friendships.
“I knew some of them but it’s really word of mouth and we’ve gotten other guys to come into the league,” Carrier said. “It has really been fun that way.”
Initially starting as synagogue league, many of the initial members came from the same community. However, over the years, and thanks to Carrier’s help, the league has expanded greatly.
Josh Wolson has been playing since Carrier took over and was first brought into the league by his colleague that happened to play. Wolson moved from Washington D.C. five years ago and has used the league to meet new people in the city.
“Mike Carrier is someone that I knew prior to moving up here,” Wolson said. “I’ve gotten to know several of the guys. I’ve socialized with some of them outside of here. It was a nice way to transition. It’s hard to break in otherwise.”
Although the league has seen some expansion, it has not grown to the size of many other recreational leagues around the city. Each week just eight to 10 people come to play. Despite the low volume turnout, guys in the league enjoy it and wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It’s nice to have the repeat small, core group,” Wolson said. “We all know each other, we all know each other’s skill levels… and because you’re repeat players and you’re not on the same team week after week or even game to game, we have an incentive not to poison the well with each other.”
The smaller group and constantly changing teams prevents any tensions from being built up against the members and leads to a more relaxed game for all of those involved.
As for the future of the league, Carrier plans on keeping it going for as long as he can.
Part of the requirements for Carrier as league coordinator is to manage the league email list, which has more than 50 people on it, and handle the finances which include paying the Old Pine Community Center dues to use the facility. Each player pays Carrier $80 for each 10-week session.
“I feel a responsibility to attend whenever I’m in town and I enjoy it,” Carrier said. “I always look forward to basketball, [it’s] an amazing aerobic workout that I otherwise wouldn’t get.”
In addition to managing the league, Carrier also has to manage his physical health. Working out at a competitive level once you reach your 30s and 40s (the age demographic of the league) can become tougher to do because of the natural aging that occurs within the body.
For Carrier and the other members of the league, there is always the risk of a major injury occurring that will stop them from being able to continue playing. In the battle of the body versus Father Time, Father Time is a worthy opponent with devastating injury always as a possibility.
In a study for PubMed, researchers found 48 percent of Achilles tendon ruptures from sports came from playing basketball and 32 percent of all ruptures studied. However, there are measures that can be taken to better prevent these injuries from happening while getting in some exercise on the hardwood.
“Achilles tendon injuries are common in middle-aged “weekend warriors” who may not exercise regularly or take time to stretch properly before an activity,” according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Muscoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
As long as the athletes make sure to properly stretch and aren’t sedentary in their lifestyles it is likely that they won’t run into such an injury.
“I go to the gym and exercise pretty regularly,” league member Mark Downing said. “I stretch out a couple minutes before.”
Achilles injuries aren’t the only injuries that basketball players are susceptible to. Muscle pulls in general are the most common injuries for anyone that runs extensively back-and-forth.
It is suggested for people that run for considerable lengths of time should change their shoes every 250-500 miles. Also, after a vigorous exercise athletes should go on five minute cool down walk or jog to reduce their heart rate.
It is upon those that play sports into their 30s-40s to make sure that they take the necessary steps and the proper precautions in order to prevent any possible injuries that may occur.
– Text, video and images by John Iatesta.