Wednesday, February 3, 2016

THANKS FOR THE CONSISTENT SUPPORT 
AND SPONSORSHIP FROM CROWN TROPHY 
ON TREMONT AVENUE IN THE BRONX, NY.






YOUR MANY YEARS OF CONTINUOUS 
GENEROSITY IS GREATLY APPRECIATED, 
AND WE ARE THANKFUL FOR ALL THAT 
YOU DO IN OUR COMMUNITY.

 Crown Trophy Bronx




2554 East Tremont Ave. Bronx, NY 10461
Ask for G.P. and tell him, "Lahh sent you." 

Crown Trophy Website 

Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 Jacksonville, Florida Men's Masters

Dateline: Jacksonville, FL....The land of slow 
moving sunshine, and the mellow easy pace of 
northern Florida.  People are folksy down here.
My waitress at the Marriott Restaurant beams,
"How yall doing today?" as she gently places
my turkey burger and fries on the table. 
Retirees mingle easily with sand seekers from 
around the globe...Just chilling in the Jacksonville sun.  

Nutritional Facts for Masters Athletes





Let me start by saying that we know that Florida is
football country, and that Floridians just love their 
Jaguars, Dolphins, Gators, and Seminoles!   However,
the running of the Jacksonville Men's Masters 
Basketball Tournament is in full effect here on 
the campus of the University of Northern Florida...
GO OSPREYS!!!  Athletes from all over the 
world have assembled here for Full and Half-Court 
competition for Masters age group basketball supremacy.


 










                         The beautiful campus and facilities
                       at the University of Northern Florida
GO UNF OSPREYS!! 

Competing players have arrived here from throughout 
the US/Puerto Rico, Canada and as far away as Australia. 
This year the tournament committee is hosting seven age 
grouped divisions including; Ages 45/50+, 55+, 60+, 65+, 
70+, 75+, and 80+.  This was my first trip to compete in
Jacksonville Masters...I didn't quite know what to expect
for several reasons. [1] This was my first Masters event
where I was not playing with the New York Sugar Daddies
or Team Alkebulan.  [2] This was my first experience
playing with Team LCI from Canada, and coached by
the notorious Doug "Puffy" Combs.  I was a little
concerned with how things would "pan out" with me
being the new guy in a new environment.  In terms of
basketball, sometimes these new relationships just don't
work out, with issues of style of play, playing time, or
people not on the same page.  Sometimes you're not
even in the same book, or library.




But, I had some consolation in knowing that Kelvin 
"The Skate" Jones would be making the trip
to Florida with me.  Kelvin is a veteran of many NYC,
and Tri-State basketball competitions and has a hoop
resume ten miles long.  I knew if "KJ" was rolling onto
the court with me, everything would fall into place.  
I also knew that we had Big Ron "Special K" Knecht
[Germany], a towering "BIG" who is mobile and skilled. 
I was glad to hear we also we loaded up with the
efficient Slic Ric Greenwood [Chicago]. Ric is a triple
threat who can score, pass and penetrate.  He will not
hurt you on defense and is a good leader on the floor.
Also listed on this LCI roster is non-other than Ian "Radar" 
Mahoney [NYC/Chicago] aka "All Day & Night."  I
was curious to see who would dare to challenge us in
JAX, this LCI 55+ roster, with strong Canadian air-support,
was about as strong as it gets at these masters events.   
Who is Ian Mahoney?


    LCI-Canada 55 Team with Coach Doug Combs [L-rear]
Front Row [L to R] S. White, T. Halfaker, K. Jones, L. Woods, R. Knecht,
R. Greenwood, I. Mahoney
Rear Row [L to R] Coach Doug Combs, S. Sahle  

As I slowly unpacked my bags at the Best Western 
on Salisbury Road I confidently felt like we were 
destined to win it all in 2016. Apparently, The 
Georgia Boys and the Nor-Easter Snow Storm 
hadn't gotten the memo. No excuses...but...Let's
just say.."We'll be back!" 

Flights Cancelled by Snow Storm

                        I thought I saw it all...First time in my 
                    life that my basketball game was snowed out

Our tournament play would be severely impacted
by the storm with players unable to reach sunny
Florida in a timely fashion from New York, Chicago,
Detroit and Canada.  We got snowed out.  Flights 
delayed, diverted and cancelled as I was texted, 
called and tweeted updates on who was and wasn't
going to be there on day one, two, and three.

I was there in Jacksonville, a full day early.
That's not the usual case for me...I was told
some time ago by my Dad that I would be
late for my own funeral...Well I certainly
hope so. I was honored to attend the 
Jacksonville Masters coaches, staff, and
Iron-Man Awards meeting.

 
                   Jacksonville Masters staff [Steve Tutson (L)] &
                          ABA/NBA great Artis Gilmore [C-rear]

        Lahh [Center Rear] with the Grand Masters at Jacksonville Masters
        [Standing on Right] Walt Finden & [Sitting] Cal Dillworth 

I represented Team LCI-Canada, and collected their
registration, roster and waiver forms for the club. 
Then I was asked by Mr. Bill Bosworth if I would
mind holding onto an award for LCI's Coach Doug
Combs.  I agreed and it was a massive trophy called
"The Iron Man" for consistent support, and service, to
the Jacksonville Masters Tournament. 

Symptoms of Diabetes 
    Grand Masters: Jacksonville Masters Staff, and Coaches Meeting

                      Bosworth family and Jacksonville Masters staff.

                                 Jacksonville Masters Iron-Man Trophy

         Dr. Bill Bosworth, Tournament Director, Jacksonville, FL.

That beautiful, very heavy, trophy was parked on top
of my hotel room microwave for two days, until I made
the formal presentation to Douglas before our second
game of the weekend vs the Dellagness Construction
Team from Wadsworth, Ohio.  I thought to myself,
"Great trophy...Maybe sometime, in a number of years
from now, I might get my hands on one of these statues
for my trophy room."
                 Larry Legend- Out on the town in Jacksonville

 One of the many high points of the weekend was when I
get to talk, and break bread, with many of the athletes and
sincere gentlemen of the game.  The evening before our
first game I had a great time with my brother Larry Combs,
and his family. I thought he and I were going to be playing
together in Jacksonville.  I was looking forward to it, very
much.  However, Larry would up playing with his usual
Ohio crew, Degrasse Construction in the 55+.  They are
always contenders, that come strong with interior scoring
and perimeter snipers.  Larry is a blur on the court.  His
ball handling and offensive skills are, well, exceptional. 
And that's why he's called "The Legend."  We met some
time ago as competitors, and now we are fast friends. 
I know it's only a matter of time that the two "speed
merchants" [He & I] will get a chance to rock in the
backcourt together...And when that happens...
"ZOOOOM BABY!!.........LOOK OUT!!"

             "All we need is one more player & it's a wrap!" 
               [Left to Right] Dane Hill, Artis Gilmore, Lahh Woods, James Payne
  Fort at St. Augustine, a tribute to the violence, aggression, and conflict of the world we live in.

Several teammates from TEAM LCI [Canada] took a
walking tour of the nearby, picturesque, city of St.
Augustine.  A historic walk through time, that reflected
the little know American history of this remarkable city
in the shadows of Jacksonville, FL.  Our able pilot was
Ted "The Bear" Laan, and our navigator was Ron Knecht.
I don't know how Ron got his 6'10 frame into the front
passenger seat of the economy rental, but my post was
in the semi-reclined position behind the driver...A perfect 
vantage point for the scenic drive, the sun in my eyes,
and to witness Ted and Ron's debates on which
way we should go.  How could we go wrong?  With
The Bear and his heavy foot on the gas, and Ron
tightly clutching his I-Phone while spewing land co-
ordinates and directions, we were in the town square
in St Augustine quicker than you could say, "The 
British are Coming!"  I was absolutely in warm
company, in a historic city, in Northern Florida,
while folks back home, in the north east, were
covered in cold, slush, and snow.

The staff at the Government House Museum
enthusiastically shared gems of local history, myths,
and folklore.  We were enraptured by the international
scope, and depth, of the numerous battles, treachery,
and wars of conquest by several European countries. 
Primarily those at battle were France, Spain, England. 
Now throw into that military, and political mix a
newborn nation, named America, trying to establish
itself as a sovereign state.  Not to mention skull, and
cross-boned Pirates that militarily dominated the
coastal waters of Florida and the Caribbean for
hundreds of years.  This story being told in
this little quaint town was getting complicated. 
For on top of all of that action, was the displacement
and war made on the local native inhabitants of
this young nation.  Did I fail to mention the
kidnapping and introduction of enslaved Africans
into the western hemisphere?  This sleepy, little,
town sure packs a lot of world history, and pain,
into their silent stone streets and buildings.

My teammate Ron was an excellent student
and scored quite well on the pop-quiz at
the end of our lecture, and tour at the museum. 
Ted and myself, on the other hand, had a bit of
studying to do to catch up.   So we all ventured 
to a small, local, book store on Cordova Street
to extend our required research in preparation
for our return to Jacksonville Masters 2017. 
Maybe then Ted and I can ace that quiz.

        Fish in the tropical Garden of the historic Alcazar Hotel 



St Augustine Government House Museum 

    Midtown St. Augustine reflecting the North African/Iberian   
    architectural influence of a bygone era, in northern Florida.

Many times when players have ventured to other states, or
countries for athletic competition, the main focus of their
attention is the travel arrangements, food, game times, and
lodging.  Many players travel hundreds of miles to compete,
and never venture beyond the gated walls of their hotel
rooms.  How can you travel to  a foreign state, and not
take a walk in that city?  How can you go to Buffalo
Masters, five years, and not witness Niagra Falls?  How
can you win your games at Detroit Masters and never
see the Motown Museum?  How can you play in the
Showdown N' Naptown with-out strolling through
downtown Indianapolis?   How can you travel to
New York Masters, during Harlem Week, play
at Rucker Park and not check out the Apollo Theatre,
or ride the subway to Times Square, or have two
slices of NYC pizza to go...And you might just want
to see the Statue of Liberty while you're at it? 
You cannot travel to the country of Canada for
the Burlington Masters event, and not have lunch
or catch a Broadway show, or some live jazz in
Toronto.  How can you come to Jacksonville
Masters, and not check out the architecture,
culture, and history of St. Augustine?...The
oldest continuously inhabited city in the
United States of America.  I'm just saying. 
You might want to start getting to Masters
events a day early, or leave a day late...
after you've secured your gold, first place,
medals.

2016 Jacksonville Masters Game Scores
Friday's Scores
Winning team is underlined

Vintage USAb-Sanford, NC [age 75] vs Florida Old Stars [age 80] 61-21 
Florida-St. Augustine [age 75] vs NCV-USAw [age 75] 39-61
Florida-Clearwater Aces [age70]  vs NCV-USA [age 75]  65-34
Ohio-Ancient Regime [age 70] vs Florida-Jax Drs. [age 70]  78-51
OHIO-No Limit [age 65] vs Oakland's Finest [age 65] 59-53
Canada-LCI [age 60] vs Florida-Team Jax [age 60] 60-57
Pennsylv. The Ward [age 60] vs Puerto Rico-M [age 60] 92-81
Tennessee TNT-USA [age 65] vs  PA. Golden Ward [age 65] 91-27
Ohio-Dellagnes Const. [age 55] vs FL-Jax Old School [age 55] 77-64
Georgia Boys [age 55] vs Canada-LCI [age 55] 99-64
FL.-Team Jax [age 50] vs FL.-Jax Old School [age 45/50]  83-72
GA. South Atlanta [age 50] vs FL.-USAS Clearwater [age45/50] 70-65

                          The ancient fortress...Castillo de San Marcos
                     "Gunners mount your battlements!!"
Castillo San Marcos History


2016 Jacksonville Masters Game Scores
Saturday's Scores
Winning team is underlined
Aging Athletes Recovery

NCV-USAb [age 75] vs FLORIDA-SA [age 75] 60-29
FLORIDA-S [age 80] vs NCV-USAw [age 75] 60-33
FLORIDA-CA [age70]  vs FLORIDA-JD [age 70] 83-30
OHAR [age 70] vs NCV-USA [age 75]  77-45
OHNL [age 65] vs PATGW [age 65] 37-87
CAOF [age 65] vs TNT-USA [age 65] 78-104
CANADA-LCI [age 60] vs PUERTO RICO-M [age 60] 75-80
FLORIDA-TJ [age 65] vs  PATW [age 65] 104-78
OHIO-DC [age 55] vs CANADA-LCI [age 55] 71-78
GEORGIA BOYS [age 55] vs FLORIDA-JOS [age 55] 91-61
FLORIDA-TJ [age 50] vs FL-USA [age 45/50]  83-72
GASA [age 50] vs FLORIDA-JSO [age45/50] 78-68


           James Payne and Teammate for Puerto Rico Masters

James Payne is a fixture and the undisputed Mayor of
many of these Masters traveling assemblies.  He's the one
who can make the critical contact for a player in need of
a competitive team or a team in need of a competitive
player...and that player is usually...James Payne. When I
spot him in the hotel lobby, or in the parking lot of the 
arena, after the warm greeting and chit-chat about our
travels, and family, I have to ask him the burning question,
"Who are you playing with this weekend?" Just about
every time Mr. Payne suits up with a team, they
miraculously become title contenders, regardless of the
age group.  He is still quite versatile as a player, and
has managed to retain many of his youthful athletic
attributes.  No, he's not tomahawk slamming on people
anymore, like Westbrook, but "Major Payne" can
still run the floor and impact the game with the best
of them.  Not only will Mr. Payne give you quality
minutes, rebounds, and buckets, but he will also give
you those subtle intangibles that don't make their way
into the score-book, if you know what I mean.  
James Payne at 60+ is still the real deal and I consider
him a good friend.  He's made many introductions
for me and I know I can always get a good laugh from
being near his circle.  I publicly than him for the good
vibrations, the great extended network and the
incredible photos that he has shared with me to post
on this website, over the years.

  
















James "Skywalker" Payne working the room with Referee
Gilmore, and Mrs. Bosworth on post at the registration desk.


Mr. Bill Bosworth and the 2016 Jacksonville
Master Committee showcased a remarkable
event at an incredible, and new, venue on the
campus of Northern Florida University. 
The event had over twenty-four teams, playing
in over six age divisions, on three brand new
courts, assisted by fifty college volunteers...
in one weekend.  Job well done.


 








      

Celtic great Sam Jones in NBA action





Thanks again to Hall of Famers, Sam Jones and 
Artis Gilmore, who were in attendance and are a 
major part of this Jacksonville Connection.
Who is Sam Jones?
















  








Who is Artis Gilmore?


I had a great conversation with Mr. Sam
Jones (Celtics) who stressed the importance
of world travel, knowledge of history, 
and the collection of art and sports memorabilia.
Mr. Jones, a world traveler has aged gracefully
and looks like he can still lace them up and
get his hoop on.  I would not be surprised to
see him, next year, in sneakers and shorts in
Jacksonville. 
How Many Rings Does Sam Have?

There were a few opportunities to get out, and
around town.  The "Survey Says" the big two interest 
for the average traveler are food [dining] and 
clothing [shopping]. Jacksonville gets bonus
points for the good variety of restaurants, malls 
and clothing outlets. With that stated, I observed 
that after several months of working out, weight
lifting, and disciplined training to prepare for this
Masters Basketball Event, several players at 
our post-game dinner did not hesitate to 
drink an alcoholic beverage or two..  Talk about 
contradictions? Why would an athlete drink?
It's a mockery of the game we know and love.
These guys just don't get it.  "Boozin' after
we Loosin!" What hypocrisy. It's a low down
dirty shame.  Anyway, after I finished my 
second or third Long Island Ice Tea, I began to
seriously, seriously, contemplate the sociological,
and physiological ramifications of alcohol
consumption in middle-aged to elderly male
athletes in the western hemisphere.  What the
heck? I might as well go for it all...Let's make
that the sociological, and physiological
ramifications, and implications of alcohol
consumption in middle-aged to elderly 
athletes IN THE WORLD.   At the moment, 
needless to say....As I prepare and train for my 
next Masters event in Philly...My research 
and post game beverage ritual continues.
Drinking and Driving to the Basket
AA Alcohol and Athletes 


                         Either a lost contact lense, or every ones 
                             trying to catch their breath.

I observed the game intensity, and competitiveness
in Jacksonville, and I was impressed with the general
level of play.  It was a notch above just about everywhere
we've been to in the last few years.  The contest were athletic battles, below the rim, right on up the oldest division,
the age 80+ Group.  From this moment on I'm going to
begin to refer to this brave and illustrious group as
"The Grand Masters."

We spoke to one of these veteran upperclassman  
on campus that goes by the name of Garth Stam,
who confidently stands at 6 foot 7 inches, and is
also known as "G-Money." Mr. Stam gave me
the impression that he was a warm, reserved man,
who used his precious words judiciously...Not
wasting unnecessary syllables, or breaths to get
his point across.  He told us that he had to
compete against "the young guys" who were
seventy-five years old. Garth mentioned that he
always played basketball, and that he tried out and
made his high school team at Brighton HS in
Rochester, NY. in the 1940's.

                                            Big Garth Stam on defense in
                              Houston Senior Games 2011

He confesses that he didn't get much playing
time, as he slowly began to improve his
performance on the court. Then he was off, and
on the long road to college.  This hometown boy
didn't venture very far. He attended the Robert
Wesleyan College, which happens to also be
in Rochester, NY.  He played his four years
of college basketball, and he says
enthusiastically, "I had a good time." G-Money
graduated from there in 1953.  I wasn't even
born in '53.  I wasn't even a twinkle in my
father's eyes in '53.  He then coached a number
of years at Oneonta College, to which he
exclaims, "That was terrific!"  He then continued
his studies at Brockport College studying history
and Physical Education. Via phone, in the middle
of all of Garth's exuberance, we asked him simply,
"Why do you play basketball?" He paused for a
moment and set his feet and says, "I play because
it's become a habit.  And it hasn't gotten to the
point where I cannot play."  Mr. Stam takes a
deep breath, "I continue to play so I remain active.
I enjoy it [playing]. Terrific game, you meet
people...become friends, you get to see them at
the various events...Senior basketball, National
Senior Games, and Jacksonville Masters.

We asked G.S. what was his advice to anyone
looking to come out of playing retirement
to participate in Masters basketball competition? 
His answer was priceless, and as quick as his
patented release of his hook-shot, "Make
sure you come out of basketball retirement
before you hit eighty [80], because after age
eighty things don't work that great."  Thank
you Mr. Stam, we appreciate you ,and your
eighty plus years of Hoops and Culture. 
God bless you and we hope to see you soon.
Who is Garth Stam?

                 45 & Over Action in the final game of the weekend...Looks like ATL on top.

                                       Los Three Amigos de Jacksonville
                                          [L-R] Lahh Woods, Call Dillworth, James Payne



                                Tournament photographer &
                                   Bosworth family member

Congratulations to the following 2016 Masters
Championship teams.  Everyone competed and 
played hard, and had incredible workouts.  
So as they say from old to young, "We are all winners!"  
Masters Basketball in the Press

Age 75+ Champions-NCVUSAb


                Age 70+ Champions-OHIO Ancient Regime

Age 65+ Champions-TNT-USA


                   Age 60+ Champions-Puerto Rico Masters



                   Age 55+ Champions-The Georgia Boys


Age 45/50 Champions-Florida USA

Are You Ready for the Big R?

My friend, and mentor, Mr. Cal Dilworth, has 
always given me great advice on many of these
matters, Masters and Life related.   He talks
about the appreciation of people and doing
the best you can.  
Who is Cal Dilworth? 

With his guidance, I have come to realize 
and accept what precious gems he has shared 
with me.  And it is as follows...At the end of 
the athletic day, we have to ask ourselves
four basic questions;  [1] Did we have fun? 
[2] Did we meet good individuals and make 
new friends? [3] Are we a little sore and 
basically major injury free? [4] Will we come
back to Jacksonville 2017 Masters?  If you 
have scored three or four resounding "YES"
answers? I believe that I will see you at 
next years event.  Peace and safe travels. 
Lahh

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr Celebration in Hartford, CT

The 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration took
place at the Hartford YMCA and showcased youth and
adult talent on the hardwood floor.  A great concept to
have families come together, in unity, athletics and in
the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Who is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?


Famous Mountaintop Speech 

The participants of this particular event were from 
Springfield, Mass, New York City and Hartford, 
Connecticut. 



This inter-generational event was well attended and
well organized, Glen Mauldin and the Hartford YMCA
staff produced a great event for the community on the 
Dr. Martin Luther King National Holiday. 
Dr. King Hip Hop Holiday  

                                     The King Family relaxing at home.

The youth games, ages fourteen and under, were played
with great effort and enthusiasm.  Full court defensive 
pressure and perimeter shooting was the order of the
day as dedicated coaches screamed emotionally at
the young, deer eyed, charges who gave their best 
efforts before the capacity, Hartford crowd.
Happy Birthday Dr King Video  

                             Hartford YMCA Youth Team ["Say Cheese"]
                          at 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Event

          Boston's Finest, [white shirts] attack the basket in transition
as Hartford Y [blue] is in hot pursuit.  All teams were well
coached, and disciplined, playing in front of a capacity YMCA crowd.


 Team Alkebulan takes in all the action of the MLK Youth Game.


Youth Team at 2016 Martin Luther King Celebration

The three youth teams from Connecticut and 
Massachusetts competed on a very high level, 
in this positive, safe, YMCA environment.  
Our community needs more "Safe Zones" where 
children can play, learn and develop into the 
positive young adults that we will need them to 
be.  Surprisingly there weren't more female 
participant on the court.  Perhaps, we will see
them compete on another day. 

                                              Sunset over Hartford, CT

The 50 & Over competition was dominated by
the team from Springfield, Mass. as they defeated
a strong NYC team by 5 and then they topped a good
Hartford team by 4. They played with unity, and
purpose until the final buzzer.

                    Springfield Massachusetts 50 & Over Team
                    2016 Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Champs


                           Hartford 50 & Over, 2nd Place
                      2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Event


                     New York's Team Akebulan 50 & Over
                 3rd Place at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Event

                      Glen Mauldin [Left] aka "Set-Shot" with the
                        Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Spirit of
                           Sportsmanship Award for 2016
                          Presented by NYDLBALL.com
                
Congrats to Springfield and we hope to see them soon.  
Madd Shout to all the participants at the 2016 Martin
Luther King Jr. participants and their families. It is
our intent to continue the tradition of positive social
and educational engagement in our communities.
These types of inter-generational events set the proper
tone for our children, our young adults, and our
families to have a better quality of life as we lead
by example.  We salute the efforts of the Glen
Mauldin and the staff at the Hartford, CT. YMCA
for a remarkable event in the name of an incredible
individual of the Civil Rights Movement in America.
Peace. LW